Health Care

The Intersection of Structural Racism and a Pandemic

June 16, 2020  • Amina Akhtar

As of May 18th, East Harlem had the highest number of coronavirus cases in Manhattan. The pandemic entered this part of New York City with fewer emergency preparedness resources and against the backdrop of gentrification and structural racism. 24% of adults don’t have health insurance. 20% of the population has limited English proficiency. 31% of its residents live below the federal poverty level. 

Aspen Health Innovators Fellow Ann-Gel Palermo joined Aspen Insight host Amina Akhtar to talk about her time as Project Director of the East Harlem COAD which stands for communities active in disaster. 

Palermo and her colleagues have worked hard—without compensation—to make sure East Harlem’s emergency preparedness resources are as adequate as those in midtown Manhattan. But with some of the poorest air quality in Manhattan, and now the coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of issues to overcome. 

Thank you to Joseph McDade for the music track used in this episode. 

CORRECTION: This version of audio claims that Ann-Gel Palermo lives in East Harlem. We apologize for this mistake, Palermo does not live in East Harlem.