Research and Creative Projects

The Impact of Race and Ethnicity on COVID-19

Brytney Wornham ’21, Biology

The Project:

“The goal of my project was to bring awareness to, and visualizations of, how systemic racism is something that impacts communities of color every day, especially during a crisis such as a global pandemic. This project delved into systemic racism and the societal influences that perpetuate it, including occupational segregation, race-based residential segregation, racial capitalism, social stressors, and socioeconomic disparities. By using these as a lens to view the unequal burden faced by communities of color during the pandemic, it causes us to recognize what public health mitigation efforts will be most effective in the future, and also forces us to recognize that there are still so many aspects of our society that need to be reformed in order to create true support and equality for communities of color.

The Impact:
This research was something that I was interested in because this topic is so critical to understanding the state of our nation and society. Work in this area, which is related to public health, can continue into the future and perpetuate change. By recognizing what work needs to be done to create systems of change and continue social pushes, differences can be made that will hopefully prevent further health disparities for Black communities, as well as all communities of color, in the United States. The biggest takeaway I have seen after researching such an intense and critical topic over the last few months is that we need to do more. We have needed to do more, and we must continue to do so. True equity will not come from inaction, and the importance of access to proper nutrition, adequate housing, job opportunities, clean air and water, and a decrease in social stressors will help save lives and cannot be overlooked. These things will not go away because COVID-19 goes away, and the work cannot stop, in this field or any other.