George Aumoithe, CES Fellow in 2016-2017, is now an Assistant Professor of Global Health at Stony Brook University. He completed a Ph.D. in history at Columbia University.
George has written an Op-Ed, published in the Washington Post, “The racist history that explains why some communities don’t have enough ICU beds.” He reveals that desegregation of the nation’s hospitals was quickly followed in the 1970’s with policies at the federal, state, and local level that sought to contain costs by eliminating “excess” hospital beds.
These policies systematically reduced beds and the availability of intensive care in hospitals that serve Black and Brown communities. In fact, a study from the University of Pennsylvania shows that half of low-income communities in the United States have no ICU beds.
George explores this history at greater length in an interview with Michel Martin that aired on the PBS show, Amanpour & Co.
In short, the devastation being produced by the Covid pandemic is the culmination of fifty years of misguided health policies shaped by structural racism.