Public Health Expert Edward Wallace speaks on COVID-19 and African American health disparities

INFORMATION RELEASE: Angela Koenig, Public Information Officer, University of Cincinnati (Edited for Loveland Beacon by Chuck Gibson) 

UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI (April 14, 2020) – Edward Wallace, PhD, on faculty at the University of Cincinnati and a public health expert with a focus on community health, health disparities and health equity, provides comment on how COVID-19 is impacting African American communities.  

Edward Wallace, PhD, U.C. Faculty Member, and public health expert. (Provided) 

“Statistics are showing that African Americans are disproportionately being affected by COVID-19,” said Wallace, associate professor in UC’s Department of Africana Studies, undergraduate director for Africana Studies and director for the college’s Minority Health Certificate. “However, we must remember that African Americans are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and other chronic disease that puts them at higher risk of suffering from the illness.” 

Wallace offered factors which are likely contributing to the emerging trend indicating African-Americans are at higher risk for COVID-19.

“When people work an hourly wage (i.e. food service) and are deemed to be working jobs that are essential to the public, they risk exposure to the coronavirus,” Wallace said. “We are seeing African Americans practice social distancing much later than whites, largely because they don’t have the luxury to stay at home and work.”   


Wallace currently teaches a course called “Black Healthcare” where students learn why African Americans tend to die sooner than any other racial or ethnic group. His most recent book project Urban Health Disparities: The Wounds of Policies and Legal Doctrines focuses on policies that harm people of color rather than help the most vulnerable.

“This affects us all, either directly or indirectly. Eventually COVID-19 will come to an end,” Wallace concluded. “However, health disparities will still remain when this pandemic is long gone.”

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