Students analyze inequities in COVID-19 Healthcare and Equity
DECK: The advocacy group works to research and create informational “white papers” on racial, ethnic, and other demographic disparities in health and resource access.
Graphic courtesy of YAPA COVID Healthcare Advocacy Group
into the YAPA 2020 program, Angela Sun, junior at Lynbrook High School, noted that she didn’t have any experience reading or doing “white paper” advocacy.
“It’s essentially a written overview of a certain topic or issue, and one of our advocacy group’s tasks has been splitting up and writing them on different focus areas,” Sun said. “It was really interesting to be introduced to a method of advocacy that is used prevalently at a professional level.”
The COVID-19 Healthcare and Equity group, of which Sun is a member, is mentored by Ana Sucaldito, MPH, and Albert Wang, MD, an internist and Board Member at Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group.
Sucaldito is a Filipina-American living in Columbus, Ohio. She recently graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in Public Health, and is a PhD candidate at Ohio State University. She is a vocal community advocate and is passionate about addressing racial and ethnic health inequities through organizing community sessions and serving on an COVID-19 expert panel for Ohio’s state governor. Some of her advocacy work surrounds issues regarding disparities in mental health treatment and mental health among Asian Americans.
According to Sucaldito, the group’s students have worked together to identify societal healthcare inequities and advocate for policies that better support and provide for disadvantaged groups. Using evidence and data, students are working to create white papers about their policy recommendations.
Though conducting the program through an online format has presented certain challenges, Sun said that the struggles allowed an opportunity for students to develop soft skills along with learning from their assigned tasks and research.
“I’ve learned how to communicate better with people online and do group projects together without ever meeting them,” Sun said. “It was a challenge conducting activities online, but I still think that we were able to gain meaningful insight from our experiences.”
The group also invited guest speakers to share about relevant topics such as canvassing and fundraising, important information that students can utilize in the future regardless of what things they advocate for, Sucaldito said.
Most importantly, Sucaldito hopes that students’ understanding of how disparities affect communities will be widened through what they have learned from the program.
“There’s a lot of disparities and unfair differences in health and healthcare, and they’re not always where you expect them to be,” Sucaldito said. “Just being aware that these unfair situations exist is something really valuable.”
Written by Esther Luan