Vice Chair Underwood Leads Homeland Security Committee Virtual Forum on Coronavirus Pandemic Health Disparities

May 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, led a virtual panel discussion on health care disparities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Al Green (TX-09). During the event, members discussed the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color as well as steps that our country can take to reduce health disparities in a future pandemic. Public health experts, including Samantha Artiga, Director of the Disparities Policy Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Dr. Michelle A. Williams, Dean of the Faculty at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, joined the forum to provide insight and recommendations on how to address this issue.  

“I am deeply concerned that this pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on the health and wellbeing of people of color. In my home state of Illinois, Black residents, who make up less than 15 percent of the population, account for more than one-third of cases. And across our state, Latino-majority areas have the highest number of confirmed cases. However, coronavirus disparities are not being tracked comprehensively at a national level, so we do not yet have a full picture of the problem,” said Underwood. “The federal government must do more to create the conditions that allow all Americans to be healthy and improve health outcomes in marginalized communities, especially during this crisis.” 

A full video of the Committee on Homeland Security virtual forum can be found here.