COVID-19 AND THE PRESENT AND
FUTURE OF BLACK COMMUNITIES
THE ROLE OF BLACK PHYSICIANS, ENGINEERS,
PROCEEDINGS OF A WORKSHOP
Cato T. Laurencin, Editor
Mark Alexander, Camara P. Jones, and Cora Bagley Marrett,
Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in
Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Health and Medicine Division
Policy and Global Affairs
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and the Aetna Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-47239-5
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-47239-3
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/26146
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. COVID-19 and the Present and Future of Black Communities: The Role of Black Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26146.
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COVID-19 ACTION GROUP PLANNING COMMITTEE
MARK ALEXANDER (Co-chair), 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
CAMARA P. JONES (Co-chair), Morehouse School of Medicine
CORA BAGLEY MARRETT (Co-chair), University of Wisconsin–Madison
CEDRIC BRIGHT, East Carolina University
VANESSA NORTHINGTON GAMBLE (NAE), George Washington University
EVELYNN M. HAMMONDS (NAM), Harvard University
CATO T. LAURENCIN (NAS/NAE/NAM), University of Connecticut Health
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ROUNDTABLE ON BLACK MEN AND BLACK WOMEN IN SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND MEDICINE
CATO T. LAURENCIN (NAS/NAE/NAM) (Chair), University of Connecticut Health
OLUJIMI AJIJOLA, UCLA Medical Center
GILDA A. BARABINO (NAE), City College of New York
CHARLES R. BRIDGES, JR., Janssen Research & Development, LLC
CEDRIC BRIGHT, East Carolina University
L. D. BRITT (NAM), Eastern Virginia Medical School
ANDRÉ L. CHURCHWELL, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
THEODORE CORBIN, Drexel University
GEORGE Q. DALEY (NAM), Harvard Medical School
WAYNE FREDERICK, Howard University
PAULA T. HAMMOND (NAS/NAE/NAM), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EVELYNN M. HAMMONDS (NAM), Harvard University
LYNNE M. HOLDEN, Montefiore Medical Center
CAMARA P. JONES, Morehouse School of Medicine
CORA BAGLEY MARRETT, University of Wisconsin–Madison
VALERIE MONTGOMERY RICE (NAM), Morehouse School of Medicine
RANDALL C. MORGAN, JR., W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute
ELIZABETH O. OFILI (NAM), Morehouse School of Medicine
VIVIAN W. PINN (NAM), Senior Scientist Emerita, FIC, National Institutes of Health (Retired)
JOAN Y. REEDE (NAM), Harvard Medical School
LOUIS W. SULLIVAN (NAM), Morehouse School of Medicine
CLYDE W. YANCY (NAM), Northwestern University
MARK ALEXANDER (Ex Officio Member), 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
KIMBERLY BRYANT (Ex Officio Member), Black Girls CODE
GARTH N. GRAHAM (Ex Officio Member), Aetna Foundation
IAN HENRY (Ex Officio Member), Procter & Gamble Company
ORLANDO KIRTON (Ex Officio Member), Society of Black Academic Surgeons
JOHN R. LUMPKIN (NAM) (Ex Officio Member), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
SHIRLEY MALCOM (Ex Officio Member), American Association for the Advancement of Science
ALFRED MAYS (Ex Officio Member), Burroughs Wellcome Fund
LAMONT R. TERRELL (Ex Officio Member), GlaxoSmithKline
HANNAH VALANTINE (Ex Officio Member), Stanford University
REGINALD HAYES, Associate Program Officer, Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
TOM ARRISON, Program Director, Policy and Global Affairs
PAULA W. WHITACRE, Consultant Writer
It is an honor for me to serve as chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and serve as the editor of the second in a series of proceedings publications from the Roundtable. Our work began in 2015 when I and leaders of the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute recognized the growing absence of Black men in medical schools. In fact, levels of Black men entering medical school reached a historic low in the 2015 and 2016 years. Starting in 2016, and with financial support from important partners such as the Aetna Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Connecticut Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, we began planning a National Academies workshop on issues surrounding the absence of Black men in medicine. The joint workshop, entitled “The Growing Absence of Black Men in Medicine and Science,” took place in 2017. It was historic, in that to my knowledge it was the first National Academies activity specifically focused on issues involving Black people. The proceedings are entitled An American Crisis: The Growing Absence of Black Men in Medicine and Science. They were released in May 2018, and corresponded to a briefing on the subject of Black men and medicine with the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C. Many of the ideas that emerged from the workshop have been embraced by academia, industry, and philanthropy. More needs to be done.
Our next steps involved the development of a more permanent presence in the National Academies to discuss issues surrounding Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. With support from our anchor partners mentioned above, along with the Johnson & Johnson Company, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh, and with the continued leadership and commitment from Dr. Victor Dzau, the president of the National Academy of Medicine, the Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine was launched late in 2018. I am grateful to the Steering Committee members for the Roundtable: Drs. L. D. Britt, Cedric M. Bright, George Q. Daley, Randall C. Morgan, Jr., Elizabeth Ofili, Vivian Pinn, and Louis Sullivan.
This current workshop on COVID-19 addressed head-on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on Black communities. It should be noted that this workshop was not one of the three planned workshops for the year by the Roundtable. A cacophony of voices on the Roundtable gave a resounding endorsement for our moving forward to explore this area, gain a better understanding of the area, and most importantly, formulate ideas that could help address the complex interplay of issues that see Black people disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
I must commend the workshop co-chairs. They thoughtfully brought together an impressive group of experts to the table. Community leaders and activists brought their insights and ideas, as well as scientists, engineers, and physicians working at the front lines of COVID-19. From the National Academies, two of the three National Academies presidents provided their thoughts, and along with other National Academies leadership, groundwork was laid for further cross-academy collaborations with the Roundtable on Blacks and COVID-19. Throughout the workshop, driven by the co-chairs, an urgency of the situation at hand was put forth. Dr. Camara Jones put it well when she stated there was “an intentional structure of the workshop” in her remarks. Like most of the activities of the Roundtable, the aftermath is equally as important as the event. At the time of this publication, the Roundtable has already presented a symposium on COVID-19 and vaccines in the Black community. Publications in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities are forthcoming from that effort. In addition, a number of Roundtable members are disseminating information and ideas from both the workshop and the symposium to their communities, patients, and local, state, and national officials. As the pandemic will continue to have far-reaching effects now and for years to
come, the Roundtable—through its convening power, through its thought leadership, and most importantly, through its trusted information—will have a significant role in helping meaningful change to occur.
Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.
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This Proceedings of a Workshop was prepared by the workshop editor and rapporteurs as a factual summary of what was presented and discussed at the workshop. The Planning Committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The statements made are those of the editor and rapporteurs and do not necessarily represent positions of the workshop participants as a whole, the Planning Committee, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. We wish to extend sincere thanks to all the members of the Planning Committee for their contributions in scoping, developing, and carrying out this project.
This proceedings has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments to assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and ensure the document meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this proceedings: Baruch Fischhoff, Carnegie Mellon University; Helene Gayle, The Chicago Community Trust; Darryl Hood, The Ohio State University; and Mechelle Sanders, University of Rochester.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content
of the proceedings, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this proceedings was overseen by Maxine Hayes, University of Washington (retired). Appointed by the National Academies, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this proceedings rests entirely with the rapporteurs and the National Academies.