There has been recent widespread concern among the public and health professionals about the danger of a global pandemic outbreak of a fatal influenza virus, including the preparedness of the public health system to address this potential catastrophe. However, discussions have not focused on the likelihood of differential consequences across different segments of society. Racial and ethnic disparities in infant immunizations and flu vaccine coverage among adults may predict likely outcomes in the case of a pandemic. In addition, experience over the past two decades has revealed that major public health campaigns have often unexpectedly been accompanied by widening social disparities. These experiences suggest the need to explore the likely scenarios in the event of a catastrophic flu outbreak, identifying those most likely to be missed by public health interventions. The purpose of this project is to create a brief white paper on the likelihood and magnitude of social disparities in the consequences of a flu epidemic, as well as a more general need for systemic actions to reduce social disparities in a range of health conditions. A series of plausible scenarios illustrating likely disparities will be created and analyzed. In addition, the paper will describe various approaches that would be needed to avoid inequitable and adverse health outcomes for the population overall, as well as the most vulnerable. The project will inform the planning work for a potential commission on health equity, as well as the Foundation's public health and vulnerable populations strategies. Project deliverables are a white paper intended for wide dissemination to health policy-makers; it may be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Amount Awarded $43,044.00
Awarded on: 8/11/2006
Time frame: 9/1/2006 - 2/28/2007
Grant Number: 57738