“(Un)Just Recovery: Addressing COVID-Related Inequalities in Los Angeles”

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On Sept. 16, IIGH — in partnership with the USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute, the USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, the USC-Keck Human Rights Clinic, the USC Keck Division of Global Emergency Medicine and the 2021 USC SDG Leadership Academy — hosted a virtual panel event highlighting the range of work happening across USC to address COVID-related inequalities in Los Angeles. Attendees heard from a panel of faculty and students from across the university sharing current work, and joined the discussion of key issues to moving toward a just recovery in LA. Read more about their presentations below, and check out the recording here!

The USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute uses data and analysis to contribute to a more powerful, well-resourced, intersectional and intersectoral movement for equity. Led by Dr. Manuel Pastor, ERI staff and students, including Blanca Ramirez (PhD ’23), presented their work studying vulnerable communities in Los Angeles alongside the economic and educational impacts of COVID on their health. Populations of concern included the elderly, the undocumented, renters and children on the other side of the digital divide.

The USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation develops ideas and illuminates strategies to improve the quality of life for people in low-income, urban communities. Led by Dr. Gary Painter, students, including Joshua Cantong (MPP ’22), and faculty presented their work studying the disproportionate economic impacts of COVID-19 on low-income families and people of color in Los Angeles. Their research included current housing and relief measures being enacted at the federal, state, county and city levels, and presented recommendations for modifying existing policies and providing additional relief to stabilize the housing insecure. 

The Division of Global Emergency Medicine and the USC-Keck Human Rights Clinic at the USC Keck School of Medicine address the health and rights of vulnerable populations in Los Angeles. Division Chief Dr. Parveen Parmar, Dr. Todd Schneberk, Dr. Molly Grassini and Dr. Emily Johnson — practicing emergency physicians at LAC+USC Medical Center — shared clinical perspectives on “recovery” from the pandemic, the health realities still faced by survivors of COVID and those not reached by vaccination campaigns, and continued challenges in providing care during the current rise in cases due to the delta variant. 

Through research, education and advocacy, the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health takes a dynamic and multidisciplinary approach to addressing the health disparities and inequalities that impact our world. Presenting the work of the SDG Leadership Academy 2021, IIGH Program Specialist William Jardell and SDG Leadership Academy Fellow Elizabeth Tapia (MPH ’22) shared the work done last summer utilizing the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for measuring the impacts of COVID-19 relief and recovery funds on social justice and equity indicators for marginalized populations in Los Angeles, as well as potential next steps. 

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