During Pandemic, Government’s Minority Health Experts Are Too Quiet


As Covid-19 devastates communities of color, the government’s minority health experts are conspicuously quiet

by Lev Facher/STAT News

WASHINGTON — Four months into a pandemic that has disproportionately devastated Black, Latino, and Native American communities, leading minority health experts within the Trump administration remain conspicuously quiet and have conducted minimal outreach to communities of color.

The directors of two federal minority health offices, as well as the government’s $336 million health disparities research institute, have not conducted TV or radio interviews since the pandemic began in early 2020. None has testified before Congress, or appeared at a White House coronavirus task force meeting or public press briefing.

In an interview, Eliseo Perez-Stable, the director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, applauded several Trump administration figures’ recent efforts related to Covid-19 and protecting vulnerable populations. But at the pandemic’s outset, he said, it was largely Anthony Fauci, the prominent infectious diseases expert, who filled the vacuum, urging action to address devastation among people of color.

“We’re acting on this,” Perez-Stable told STAT, referring to concerns about Covid-19 health disparities. “Could this have been done earlier? You know, you can always say yes. The only person who really had a voice at that table from our perspective was really Dr. Fauci.”

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