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August 5, 2021

Addressing Disparities in Eye Care—The Time Is Now

Author Affiliations
  • 1Retina Division, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, WK Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021;139(9):935-936. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.2053

The societal injustices that plague the US took center stage in 2020. They played out in the murders of unarmed Black people by police officers and disproportionate low-income, Black, and brown lives lost in the US to COVID-19. Galvanizers from all walks of life insisted that Black Lives Matter were deemed terrorists instead of activists calling for equity and justice. While disparities in health and health care have existed since the founding of this country, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the medical injustices faced by US racial/ethnic minority groups to the forefront. Since race is a social and political construct, one must wonder why Black people in the US are dying from COVID-19,1 cancer, and heart disease at disproportionately higher rates than any other racial/ethnic group. The American Medical Association has recognized racism as a public health threat.2 Without systemic racism, there are no racial/ethnic health disparities.

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