Hello Wise Patients! We open this newsletter up with a link for patients who are wondering what they can do while still sheltering in place or abiding by the rules for COVID-19.
75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice by Corinne Shutack
Why We Are Deleting Our Facebook and Instagram Accounts
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone beyond allowing improper data handling and breach of user information (see the 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal — which in itself is a reason to delete Facebook) and is openly supporting Trump’s threats of violence and attempts at voter suppression by refusing to take down, tag, or otherwise fact-check Trump’s blatant threats and lies. Zuckerberg defended his decision on Fox News while police were firing tear gas and rubber bullets at American citizens.
We can no longer justify any level of support of a company that facilitates threats against our very democracy, no matter how much the product may be useful to our business.
We will still be visible and posting on Twitter. Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) has started tagging Trump’s tweets regarding voter suppression and threats of violence. He also has been speaking out on his personal twitter account and retweeting and amplifying Black voices and videos of police violence.
Please join us on Twitter @imwisepatient
Racial Disparities + COVID-19
The headline read, “Minneapolis police rendered 44 people unconscious with neck restraints in five years.” https://tinyurl.com/y7d2sxth
“..three-fifths of those subjected to neck restraints and then rendered unconscious were Black. About 30 percent were white. Two were Native Americans.”
“A lack of publicly available use-of-force data from other departments makes it difficult to compare Minneapolis to other cities of the same or any size.”
My (Sam) initial thought went something like this:
It’s hard to manage what you don’t measure and share with the public. It would be nice to know more objectively which police departments outperform others on measures of excessive force use, racial distribution of excessive force use, and racial inclusion in leadership positions. The frontrunners of change and progress should be just as well known as the sad back of the pack. After all, in our field of medicine we have several layers of metric-happy oversight to help us improve health outcomes of our patients. They are federal and state government groups, professional organizations, and other quality assurance third-parties. Sometimes we complain that a particular metric we are held to is unfair or irrelevant, but in the aggregate the oversight helps keep us on our toes and improving.
To what degree have we in healthcare improved Black race disparities in health outcomes any better than police departments have improved Black race disparities in excessive force use?
The COVID-19 front, anyway, gives us no obvious bragging rights over the police:
1. Nearly twenty-two percent of US counties are disproportionately Black (>13%) and they accounted for 52% of COVID-19 diagnoses and 58% of COVID-19 deaths nationally (data as of April 14, 2020).
2. Black patients disproportionately accounted for COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in a Louisiana integrated-delivery health system: 77% of hospitalizations and 71% of deaths were patients who were Black, despite Black residents comprising only 31% of the total population. Black individuals were associated with increased odds of hospitalization, even after controlling for age, comorbidities, use of public insurance (e.g. Medicare or Medicaid), residence in a low-income area, and obesity.
3. In Chicago, Black residents have been three times as likely to have the disease diagnosed as their white counterparts—and nearly six times as likely to die from it. In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and in hard hit Louisiana, Black people account for 70% of the dead but for just 26% and 32% of those populations, respectively.
Where did studies like the above rank for us at Wise Patient in communicating to you, our patient family, by newsletter during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Well, we’ve put out 14 newsletters to you so far during the pandemic, each having 2-3 COVID-19 related topics. None of them centered on racial/ethnic disparities of infection or death rates. Why not, we ask ourselves now. Was it because King County has fared better on some measures of racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths (https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/race-ethnicity.aspx)? We don’t think it was that because as a group we haven’t assessed that topic as deeply as we assessed the main topics of our newsletters. Was it that we have gotten so used to the measuring of and the talking about racial, ethnic, social, and economic “determinants of health” that we have mistaken the measuring of the problem for the solving of the problem? Was it that we don’t like to feel helpless? Was it our own form of racism? Was it all of these?
One thing seems very clear: social conditions and structural racism increase the risk for COVID-19 death in Black and other minority communities, just as they increase the risk of so many other diseases. May we learn to take more action as a clinic and as individuals.
We were blown away by the response we got from our artistic community here at Wise Patient. Without further ado, here are the forms of entertainment that we received from you guys! (Instagrams listed are with patient consent).
Artist Instagram: @mister_michelle
On the left, we have a piece titled “Home” and a piece on the right titled “S h a n g r i L a L a”.
Unnamed artists and art from the WPIM Community
Both works below are from artist, Arsha Adarsh. The work on the left is titled, “The days”. The piece on the right is titled, “Fire“.
Artist Instagram: @gerryredhill. Below, he title’s his piece as “It’s a Jungle Out There”
And a first for us. A whole album, brought to us by artist, Cryptomeria!
Album Title: Ruminations
Release Date: January 15, 2018
Description: A soothing, meditative kind of music that people might appreciate now.