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Dr. Edith Mitchell, MD: COVID-19 Doesn’t Play Fair — What We Need to Understand About Racial Disparities

About this Podcast: 

This episode takes on a topic from recent headlines: namely, the racial disparity in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, shares her insights on the causes of these health disparities and how they relate to the coronavirus. Contributing factors include less access to testing, lack of insurance and paid time off, underlying health conditions, and the spread of misinformation about the virus.

She also touches on how racial disparities affect clinical research. “When I came to Philadelphia, we had only 7.8% participation by African Americans in clinical trials. Yet 45% of Philadelphia is African American. We have been able to raise the participation in clinical trials to a high of 24.9%, and maintain a range around 20%,” she tells WCG President of Patient Advocacy Steve Smith. “Never assume African Americans don’t want to participate in clinical trials. They must be invited, and there must be cultural competence among healthcare providers.”

Dr. Mitchell is clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology, Department of Medical Oncology; director, Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities; and associate director, Diversity Affairs, at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She is also a retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General.

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