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Power Station

Jan 25, 2021

If you worry about our nation’s capacity to recover from Covid19, this episode may change your perception of what is possible. Melissa Jones is executive director of BARHII- Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative- a collaborative that is charting a course for recovery in 9 hard-hit counties. This partnership between public health agencies, municipalities and community organizations was launched in the mid 1990s to tackle inequities that are often the underlying cause of illness. They apply the same framework to Covid19, which has disproportionately impacted African Americans, Pacific Islanders and Latinx people, from a loss of jobs to loss of life. BARHII focuses on the social determinants of health, factors that are not addressed in the doctor’s office: housing conditions, isolation, and lack of a living wage. Melissa lays out changes in public policy needed to ensure an equitable recovery. New policies include the provision of housing by municipalities for those who cannot quarantine in crowded households. And BARHII advocates for philanthropy to act with urgency, making grants to cover these costs. Melissa is a leader whose voice must be heard, from here to the White House.