From Health Disparities to Hotspots: COVID-19 and the Drivers of Health

Blog | January 11, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of people around the world, including here in North Carolina, and it is impossible to ignore the disproportionate impact on members of our communities of color. We’ve experienced hotspots (counties with high numbers of infections), clusters in congregate living facilities, school closures affecting physical and mental health of children, and unemployment leading to hardship for North Carolinians of all ages, demographics, and regions.


Our public health infrastructure is rising to the challenge, but this brand-new disease brought with it brand-new challenges, while also highlighting the many existing health disparities in our state.


In the latest issue of the North Carolina Medical Journal, local health and medical directors, researchers, clinicians, medical students, and other members of the medical and public health communities in North Carolina reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on drivers of health, and vice versa, thus far. They also propose recommendations for protecting the health of North Carolinians as this pandemic continues, and prepare for the next public health crisis.


Click here to view the full issue.


Click the links below to read individual articles, including several peer-reviewed scientific articles.


Intro & Issue Brief


A Vaccine for Society by Peter J. Morris, MD, MPH, MDiv


From Health Disparities to Hotspots to Public Health Strategies: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in North Carolina by Arlene C. Seña, MD, MPH; David J. Weber, MD, MPH



Peer-reviewed scientific articles


Identifying Barriers and Facilitators to Prenatal Care for Spanish-Speaking Women by Kimberly Fryer, MD, MSCR; Ginny Lewis, MSW; Chris Munoz, MD; Alison M. Stuebe, MD, MSc


Does Cancer Treatment-Related Financial Distress Worsen Over Time? by S.M. Qasim Hussaini, MD, MS; Fumiko Chino, MD; Christel Rushing, MS; Greg Samsa, PhD; Ivy Altomare, MD; Jonathan Nicolla, MBA; Jeffrey Peppercorn, MD, MPH; S. Yousuf Zafar


Simulation of “North Carolina Protocol for Allocating Scarce Inpatient Critical Care Resources in a Pandemic” in a Multi-hospital Health Care System by Deborah J. Love, JD, MBA, MA; Lawrence R. Nycum, MD, MMM; Tanya Stewart Blackmon, MBA, MSW, LCSW; A.J. Patefield, MD, MBA; Paula Bird, DNP, RN-C, NEA-BC; Shelli E. Stoker, JD, ARM; R. Andrew Piersol, MBA; Adam N. Koontz, MA, LCMHCS; Amy L. Collard, MSW, LCSWA


Using State Licensure Data to Assess North Carolina’s Health Workforce COVID-19 Response Capacity by Heather Wilson, BA; Evan M. Galloway, MPS; Julie C. Spero, MSPH; Shikira Thomas, MSPH; Julianna C. Long; Thomas C. Ricketts III, PhD, MPH; Erin P. Fraher, PhD, MPP



Commentaries & Sidebars


COVID-19: A Mirror to Our Flaws by Erica Pettigrew, MD, JD, MPH


Invest in Rural North Carolina to Ensure a Thriving State, Pandemic or Not by Laura Gerald, MD, MPH


Impact of COVID-19-related School Closures on the Drivers of Child Health by Angelique E. Boutzoukas, MD; Ibukunoluwa C. Akinboyo, MD; Charlene A. Wong, MD; Daniel K. Benjamin, Jr., MD, PhD; Kanecia O. Zimmerman, MD, MPH


Sidebar: COVID-19 Devastates North Carolina’s Child Care System and Threatens Health and Safety of Children, Families, and Early Educators by Michele Rivest, MPA


No Hugs Allowed: Isolation and Inequity in North Carolina Long-term Services and Supports During COVID-19 by Nathan A. Boucher, DrPH


Sidebar: Orange County, NC Interdisciplinary “Strike Team” Supports High-Risk Congregate Living Facilities in COVID-19 Response by Robert C. Pease, MD, MPH; Susan K. Keen, MD; G. Cameron Coleman, MD, MPS; Erica M. Pettigrew, MD, JD, MPH; Deborah S. Porterfield, MD, MPH


Centering Equity and Community in the Recovery of the COVID-19 Pandemic by Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD; Mary K. Wolfe, PhD; Stephanie M. Hoover, PhD, Gaurav Dave, DrPH


Sidebar: Addressing North Carolina Hispanics and Latinos Affected by COVID-19: A Grassroots Approach by George J. Hendrix, BA


Health Care Providers Can Help Combat Harmful Misinformation About the Pandemic by Amanda Sturgill, PhD


COVID-19 Surveillance: Not Everything That Counts Can be Counted, and not Everything That Can be Counted Counts by Emily E. Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, MS; Lauren M. DiBiase, MS


The Emerging Chronic Sequelae of COVID-19 and Implications for North Carolina by Robert J. Rolfe, MD; Colin M. Smith, MD; Cameron R. Wolfe, MBBS(Hons), MPH





Spotlight on the Safety Net: Deploying Mobile COVID-19 Testing Programs in North Carolina as an Approach to Improving Health Equity by Lynne Fiscus, MD, MPH; Randi Towns; Sally Wood, MD, MPH; Pamela Oliver, MD, MSPH; Suzanna Fox, MD; Andrea Weathers, MD, DrPH; Kathy Colville, MSW, MSPH; Michael Herce, MD, MPH, MSc; David Wohl, MD, MPH




The COVID-19 Crisis Response Will Benefit From Student Advocacy by Ryan Koski-Vacirca, MPH; Danish Zaidi, MD, MTS, MBE


Impact of the First Case of COVID-19 and Statewide Executive Orders on Regional “Code Stroke” Trends During North Carolina’s First COVID-19 Surge by Lauren Macko, MSN, RN, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, SCRN; Tanushree Prasad, MA; Rahul R. Karamchandani, MD; Sam Singh, MS; Andrew W. Asimos, MD


COVID-19 Impacts University of North Carolina Medical Students’ Perception of the Future by Fei Chen, PhD; Robert S. Isaak, DO, FASA; Beat D. Steiner, MD, MPH; Susan M. Martinelli, MD, FASA


Preoperative Screening for COVID-19 by E. Hope Weissler, MD; Melina R. Kibbe, MD, FACS, FAHA; John W. F. Mann, MD, FACS; Harry Caulfield, MD, FACS; Charles Harr, MD, FACS; Amy N. Hildreth, MD, FACS; John F. Krahnert, MD, FACS, FACC; Caroline E. Reinke, MD, FACS; Janet E. Tuttle-Newhall, MD, FACS; Jay Wyatt III, MD, FACS; Cynthia K. Shortell, MD, FACS