Washington, D.C. – The Trump administration has started an initiative, the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities (NIMIC), to help communities that have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Minority Health (OMH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is partnering with the Morehouse School of Medicine on this 3-year initiative.
The NIMIC will work with organizations to increase communication efforts on COVID-19 resources, such as testing, within communities facing health disparities, including minority, rural, and socially-vulnerable communities.
Addressing these disparities has been a priority for the Energy and Commerce Committee. After a bipartisan E&C teleconference with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. on this issue, Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) called for a hearing to understand why these disparities exist and what the committee can do to help address them.
“All communities should receive the same prevention, testing, and treatment services, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or creed,” wrote Burgess in a letter to Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) at the time.
On June 17, the Health Subcommittee held this hearing. During the hearing, E&C Republican Leader Walden said, “There’s no question the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color – seen primarily in terms of poorer health outcomes, but it has also manifested both socially and economically.”
This $40 million-dollar initiative is a good step to continue the work necessary to reduce these disparities in COVID-19 outcomes and access. The Energy and Commerce Committee will also continue to work to address these disparities.