Equity Among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Communities under COVID-19 Telehealth Policy
VSSL Scholars Ashok Reddy, Edwin Wong, and Joshua Liao are leading a new project to evaluate equity among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities under COVID-19 Telehealth Policy.
Washington implemented major Medicaid telehealth policy changes in response to COVID-19. These changes are particularly salient for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations, which have long suffered health inequity due to social determinants of health, such as poverty and language. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these disparities, with these communities experiencing the highest death rates among all racial groups in the state.
Washington is home to some of the largest American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations in America. In view of both longstanding and COVID-specific inequities, it is critical to understand how telehealth policies have impacted these communities: whether telehealth reduces barriers to care in ways that disproportionately benefit them (e.g., obviating transportation), or create barriers that entrench or worsen disparities (e.g., requiring reliable broadband internet access). Problematically, little is known about these issues.
This project seeks to address this major gap by using comprehensive Medicaid data to analyze telehealth use and disparities among individuals from American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. We will establish and incorporate input from a Community Board to ensure our work is informed by community perspectives. Ultimately, this project represents a vital step for addressing a major population health issue at the intersection of human health and social and economic equity.
This project is funded by the University of Washington Population Health Initiative. To learn more about the work, please reach out via the contact form.