Module 3: Health Disparities, Policy Changes, and Socioeconomic Effects in the U.S.

Appreciate the complex and rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic as it stands in the U.S., as well as the adapting responses of the healthcare system and society as a whole.

Authors: Stephanie Alden, Lucy Chen, Jennifer Cruz, MPH, Chuma Eruchalu, Michael Fuchs, Melody Huang, Ashwini Joshi, Ben Landwersiek, Hemen Muleta, Fejiro Okifo, Hema Pingali, Morgan Sehdev, Emily Witt

Editor: Katie Shaffer

Reviewers: Brian Chan, MD, MPH; Jennifer Kasper, MD, MPH; Camila M. Mateo, MD, MPH

Past Reviewers: Holly Rawizza, MD; Michael Dougan, MD, PhD

In Module 3 of this curriculum, students will begin to consider the broader implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first section of this module, students will discuss health disparities and how the pandemic has lifted the curtain on these disparities. In the next section, students will learn how state and federal governments, in addition to insurers, are able to respond to public health crises and the actions they have taken thus far in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. We provide state-by-state case studies to allow students to compare and contrast the various responses across the country. Finally, students will receive a general overview of how the pandemic impacts healthcare that is not associated with COVID-19, in addition to many social and economic aspects of daily life. While these sections are by no means complete reviews, we hope that they will invite further consideration of the broader scope of the pandemic. We expect that this module will take 3 hours to complete.

Overarching Learning Goal:

Appreciate the complex and rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic as it stands in the U.S., as well as the adapting responses of the healthcare system and society as a whole.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this module, medical students should be able to:

  • Elucidate how pre-existing and ongoing health and other disparities contribute to COVID-19 health outcomes

  • Identify three major federal health policy stakeholders and federal legislation that has been implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of state and local responses to the pandemic, identifying attributes associated with “hotspots”

  • Explain how the pandemic is impacting care in other areas of the U.S. healthcare system, including routine and chronic care

  • Identify at least three different ways in which the pandemic has impacted our economic and social climate