Essential Public Health Services
PHS1: Assess and monitor population health status, factors that influence health, and community needs and assets (Article Analysis 1).
The public health service plays a crucial role in ensuring equity across populations by actively promoting policies, systems, and overall community conditions. Consequently, done to attain optimal health for all people and to alleviate systemic and structural barriers such as racism, gender discrimination, poverty, and other forms of oppression (Article Analysis 1).
The COVID-19 era has exposed social and healthcare institutions to biases and longstanding inequities. Furthermore, healthcare disparities have alerted institutions such as the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) committed to gynecologic oncology patients by eliminating these disparities and increasing awareness (Farley et al., 2020).
Undoubtedly, the pandemic will further exacerbate the already burdened medical institutions and vulnerable populations that exhibit implicit biases in management decisions and patient care. One way healthcare settings can assess and monitor the health status of minority populations is by promoting fair treatment. This is addressed through direct influence at individual provider, institutional, and national policy levels, eliminating inclinations for providers and patients relying on stereotypes to make decisions.
PHS3: Communicate effectively to inform and educate people about health, factors that influence it, and how to improve it
The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented situations, especially for patients unable to give salient information to their providers. Alternately, advocacy groups work with patients in funding research processes, representing patient views, and setting priorities for future knowledge (Farley et al., 2020). This sets precedence for organizations and self-help groups to address psychosocial, financial, and health needs at various societal levels by creating online and media presence (Article Analysis 1).
Guidelines for Oncology
The current pandemic has changed the way we do things in general. Gynecologic oncology providers have modified cancer treatment to cater to different populations, including patients and healthcare personnel. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), current guidelines aim to manage cancer conditions while adapting oncology care during this pandemic (Farley et al., 2020). The pandemic has made it difficult for some populations to strictly adhere to the guidelines, especially underserved populations. ASCO contends that the guidelines must be altered to cater to the needs of patients and communities.
One way to facilitate the alteration of the guidelines to fit the pandemic’s context is to acknowledge and understand constructs that place minority and underserved communities at risk. Some of these constructs include different historical contexts, cycles, systems, and structures (Farley et al., 2020). Moreover, groups can push for equitable healthcare access and quality through advocacy initiatives at local, state, and national levels. Numerous disparities exist in oncology care, including the coverage gap, which does not favor underserved patients and communities.
Furthermore, collaborations with different entities are vital. Practitioners must continue engaging patients to understand their concerns about access to care, food and housing, financial strains, and safe home environments. On the other hand, we must play our role in partnering with our colleagues in social work and advocacy groups, many of whom have adapted to conditions brought forth by the pandemic(Article Analysis 1).
Question 3 (Article Analysis 1)
Effects of Implicit Biases on COVID-19 Outcomes
Biases in healthcare are based on attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes, judgments, and prejudices created unconsciously. They must be addressed at individual provider, institutional, and national policy levels as they contribute significantly to COVID-19 outcomes, especially among underserved patients and communities (Farley et al., 2020). For example, implicit biases can affect a patient’s recovery journey, where one cannot remember what the doctor tells them, has low confidence, and finds it hard difficult stick to medications. Ultimately, this warrants unfavorable COVID-19 outcomes.
Furthermore, disparities in the healthcare sector have disproportionately affected minority populations. Such disparities can, directly and indirectly, influence one’s perceptions of the pandemic and subsequent approaches to managing dire situations. For example, the media reports COVID-19 cases based on outcomes, infection rates, and mortalities across states without reporting on race and ethnicity (Farley et al., 2020). This means effects on minority populations get neglected, resulting in unpleasant COVID-19 outcomes.
Farley, J. H., Hines, J., Lee, N. K., Brooks, S. E., Nair, N., Brown, C. L., & Chapman-Davis, E. (2020). Promoting health equity in the era of COVID-19. Gynecologic Oncology, 158(1), 25-31.