UHF/GNYHA Research Symposium Focuses on Health Care Inequities

The American Medical Association’s (AMA)  groundbreaking strategic plan for improving health equity was the focus of the keynote address by Aletha Maybank, MD,  AMA Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer, at the 32nd Annual Symposium on Health Care Services: Research and Practice, held October 26. 

The AMA plan, released in May 2021, aims to embed racial justice and advance health equity in all of the Association’s policies. Dr. Maybank explained its genesis: “Our data shows we’re not valuing people equally. We have to be real about that and talk about that.” 

She called on health care workers just starting out in their careers to unite and work for equitable care in their organizations. “Medical students have led a lot of these policies for change,” she said. “Collectively, people have power.”

Dr. Alethea Maybank, AMA Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Office

The symposium, sponsored by United Hospital Fund and Greater New York Hospital Association with support from The Commonwealth Fund, was live-streamed for the second year due to the pandemic. The annual event is designed to further understanding and collaboration around current health care practice and research in New York.

A recording of the Symposium is available here

The symposium featured two panels. The first, Perspectives on Vaccinations for the Health Care Community, was moderated by Marcella Tillet, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships for Brooklyn Community Foundation, and featured discussions on how various New York-based organizations successfully promoted the COVID-19 vaccines. Global Trauma Research Inc. Executive Director Florence Saint-John discussed how her organization developed a culturally responsive approach toward the New York Haitian community it serves to increase COVID-19 vaccine rates, holding a variety of neighborhood events that were not specifically labeled as vaccine-related.

David Russell, research scientist at Center for Home Care Policy & Research, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, said that surveys and focus groups found that 96 percent of home health aides—despite feelings of being undervalued and lacking in adequate resources—continued to serve clients during the pandemic, as they view their work as essential.

Rosemarie Stazzone, Richmond University Medical Center’s Chief Operating Officer, described short videos that her hospital made featuring its own physicians explaining the vaccine, noting “people will gravitate to people they know.”  Jasmine Travers, Assistant Professor of Nursing at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, cautioned that many people are quick to see “vaccine hesitancy” negatively and blame health care workers who delay getting the vaccine. It is more important, she said, to address the conditions that create low uptake of the vaccine.

The second panel, Specific Populations Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic, featured a series of research presentations: “Leveraging Geographic Information Systems for Hot-Spotting During COVID-19” by Kushboo Shah, Director Data Solutions, Innovative Management Solutions New York; “Social Determinants of Health Outreach to Veterans” by Michael Matthews, Director of Veterans Programs, Staten Island Performing Provider System; and “BMI Changes in the Pediatric Population of NYC with the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Renee Bargman, MD, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island.

The Symposium also included a new feature this year—a virtual poster session. Viewers could watch pre-recorded poster presentations and discuss the results with the poster presenters, all of which can be found at this link.

Posters and presenters:
•    Comparison of Short- and Long-Term Outcomes Between Survivors of ICU Hospitalizations with and without COVID-19 Infection: A Prospective Study
Sebastian Ocrospoma Heraud, MD, Resident Physician (PGY-11), Department of Medicine, NYC H+H Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center

•    Telehealth Use by New York State Medicaid Beneficiaries Pre- and Post-COVID-19
Grace Kim, Research Fellow, NYU Wagner School of Public Service

•    Knowledge, Attitude, and Perceptions of COVID-19 Vaccination Among Health Care Workers of New York City Public Hospitals-A Cross-Sectional Study
Anjana Pillai, MD, Hospitalist, Department of Medicine, NYC H+H Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center

•    A Profile of New York State Nurse Practitioners
Kristen Stiegler, MPA, Senior Program Coordinator, Center for Health Work Force Studies