We are excited to announce our newest project! Undertaken in Collaboration with the Bass Connections Program at Duke University.
Improving food security to increase resilience in the face of COVID-19 for Latinx populations: a local-global perspective
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the Latinx community. In Durham County, Latinx people make up 14% of the population but 67% of new confirmed coronavirus cases (as of June 2020). Many factors contribute to this disparity, including pre-existing health conditions, occupations and cultural barriers. For example, the 2017 Durham Community Health Assessment reported that Hispanic/Latino patients were admitted to the emergency department for respiratory complications at twice the rate of non-Hispanic white patients. Latinx people also have higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity, rendering them more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. In Durham, those who work in construction and custodial services are more likely to test positive for coronavirus, and Latinx people make up 91% of cases associated with construction work. Importantly, Latinx households also experience food insecurity at higher rates than white households and are often overlooked when it comes to public health interventions. This exacerbates health disparities and has compounded the ability of the Latinx community to maintain social distancing practices and secure personal protective equipment.
Our team will bring together stakeholders from the healthcare, food, environmental and racial justice spaces to develop interventions that address food security in the Latinx community and encompass multifaceted aspects of patient health that expand beyond the current medical, in-clinic perspective.
Our team will investigate:
1. How the pandemic is affecting the food security of Latinx residents, with additional consideration of how environmental public health factors contribute to this population’s risk for COVID-19 infection.
2. How incorporation of fresh, local foods may mitigate the effects of COVID on food insecurity.
3. How food insecurity manifests differently in other countries experiencing this pandemic and what we can learn from the global response.
We will partner with Lincoln Community Health Center, El Centro Hispano and Duke Healthy Lifestyles: Together, our team will expand Root Causes’ Fresh Produce Program to 100 high-need Latinx families and use regular surveys and de identified medical records to assess the impact of the service on patient health and literacy related to the coronavirus. We will also conduct a literature review and a comparative study of food redistribution organizations and complete interviews to identify local and global best practices in addressing food insecurity as part of the response to the pandemic, with a particular focus on strategies for supporting Latinx and immigrant communities.