These are challenging times for many of us. But the Black community and all communities of color have faced particular hardships in the past few months. Recent events have brought national attention to ongoing social injustices, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on existing health disparities.
Statistics show that COVID-19 is affecting minority communities at higher rates. In 32 states plus Washington, D.C., Blacks are dying at rates higher than their proportion of the population. Rates of infection for Latinos and Hispanics are two times higher than expected in 30 states.
COVID-19 isn’t the only place where health disparities like these show up. We also see them in health overall for a number of reasons. A big factor that impacts your health is whether you can easily access good health care. For many people in communities of color, this is often not easy. It can depend on if there are enough doctors or hospitals near you. It can also depend on if you can get quality health insurance, which is often tied to what kind of jobs are available to you. One less well-known (but really important) factor is that some groups have been left out of research in the past. From a scientific standpoint, that means researchers don’t know as much about why people in these groups stay healthy or get sick.
The All of Us Research Program is trying to change that. From the beginning of this program, one of our core values has been making sure that our participants reflect the rich diversity of the United States. Today, about 80% of our participants are from groups that have been underrepresented in research in the past. The information these participants provide may help researchers learn more about factors influencing their health outcomes. All of Us is committed to enabling research in which everyone is seen and counted.
Ending health disparities will require many different approaches. Research is one powerful way to make a difference, and we hope that All of Us will help researchers find new ways to improve health and health care for everyone.
To learn more:
- Read about diversity and inclusion in All of Us.
- Read a message to our participant community from Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., chief executive officer of All of Us.
- Read a blog post about health disparities, COVID-19, and racism from the director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
July Is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental health conditions can affect anyone. We know that genetics and other factors can affect mental health differently in different racial and ethnic groups, but we don’t know enough about why that is. That’s one reason mental health research—especially with communities that have been left out of research in the past—is so important.
All of Us is gathering information that researchers can use to study a variety of conditions. These include mental health conditions. One way we’re doing that is through the COvid-19 Participant Experience (COPE) survey.
You can help add to the diversity of COVID-19 pandemic data by taking the COPE survey. Taking the survey will help researchers understand your experiences during the pandemic. It will also help them learn how these experiences affect your health and your community’s health. The survey asks about social distancing, social support, mood, stress, and more.
We’ve released the COPE survey several times since May. Thousands of you have shared your experiences, but we hope to hear from more of you. We want to make sure that the information we gather represents you and your community. If you’ve taken the survey in May, June, or July—or all three—thank you! Having your answers over time can help researchers learn how experiences change as the pandemic goes on.
Your voice matters. To take the COPE survey, log in to your All of Us account or sign up today. Thank you for helping us learn about your experiences.
For more information on mental health topics and research, visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/index.shtml.
If you or someone you care about needs help, visit:
- NIMH Getting Help page: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml
- SAMHSA Treatment Locator: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/ at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; for the deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889)
- Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741