Survey: Rhode Islanders of color are disproportionately impacted by pandemic

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island teamed up with Brown University to conduct a first-of-its-kind survey to determine how Rhode Islanders perceive their health and wellbeing.

Now in its second year, the Rhode Island Life Index reinforced that where people are born and live in the Ocean State has a “profound impact” on their lives.

RI Life Index: 2020 Results »

BCBSRI Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matt Collins said this year, they focused on the impact of social determinants on Black and Latinx Rhode Islanders.

More than 2,000 randomly-selected Rhode Islanders of color responded to the surveys, which were conducted by phone and online.

“It was really brought to light even more the way in which Rhode Islanders in communities of color perceive access to safe, affordable housing, economic opportunities, education, childcare ─ things that really contribute to health just as much as doctor’s visits do,” Collins said in an interview with 12 News Now at 4 anchor Kim Kalunian. (Watch the full interview above.)

Collins said in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s RI Life Index ultimately proved that people of color are most at-risk for contracting COVID-19.

“For decades, we’ve known from reading medical literature that people of color are disproportionately impacted by health and by the things that the healthcare system does and doesn’t do for them and we saw that again this year in the COVID pandemic,” Collins explained.

Collins said the results provide insight into what needs to be addressed statewide when it comes to health equity and where to focus community investments and philanthropy.

“It helps us strengthen our collective voices and muster our resources toward closing some of these gaps that this survey indicates,” Collins said.

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