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11.29.2021 / Press Release

Families USA Executive Director Frederick Isasi co-leads paper on lessons learned from COVID-19

National Academy of Medicine’s seventh analysis lays out equity failures in America’s health system, ways to avoid repeating mistakes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Families USA, the leading national voice for health care consumers, announced today that its executive director, Frederick Isasi, is the co-lead of a new National Academy of Medicine report detailing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, Patients, Families, and Communities COVID-19 Impact Assessment: Lessons Learned and Compelling Needs, takes a particularly careful look at how existing inequality within America’s health care system – and beyond – led to worse outcomes for communities of color. As co-author, Isasi leaned on his experience overseeing and spearheading Families USA’s health equity initiatives to show that COVID-19 has “erupted the existing fault lines of race and class in the health system.” Populations with multiple and intersecting identities (such as low-income rural residents, low-income women of color and low-income older adults of color) were more likely to experience inequities and disparities during the pandemic than other groups.

“Patients, families and communities are the foundation of the entire health and health care system,” said Isasi. “The way people get health care in America should be centered around their needs and interests above all else. That includes recognizing how race and socioeconomic status impact our health long before we ever set foot into a doctor’s office or hospital emergency room. COVID-19 showed that our health care system needs to be reconceived and rebuilt to truly center patients, families and communities; provide care and allow for well-being that truly serves communities; and ensure that health and health care is accessible to all.”

Isasi and his fellow authors make the case that COVID-19 laid bare the long-existing cracks in the U.S.’s health care system, particularly inequities that have been fueled for decades by challenges such as generational and situational poverty, mass incarceration, and police brutality. Since these challenges impact the overall health of communities and how people experience the health care system, improving conditions for all people no matter where they live, the color of their skin or how much money they make requires tackling these issues head on, and centering the delivery of health care on patients, families and communities.

Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to the achievement of high quality, affordable health care and improved health for all.