Online Program

Special Session: Social determinants of inequalities in infectious disease outbreaks

Tuesday, November 3, 2015: 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
It has been known for decades that socio-economic status (SES)—measured by income, education, or occupation—is related to physical health. Yet the mechanisms that generate the socio-economic hierarchy in health remain poorly understood. We do not know, for example, the causes of respiratory infection disparities that have been documented in multiple studies dating back to the 1960s. Recent research examining data from Influenza surveillance in New Haven County, CT, has shown that area-level poverty-related inequalities in influenza hospitalization rates exist. National surveys during the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic documented the existence of racial and ethnic disparities in exposure, susceptibility and access to care, resulting in increased incidence of disease. How widespread is this phenomenon and what are causal pathways that could generate such inequalities? The Ebola outbreaks of 2014 are a stark reminder of how inequalities in access to care, particularly in a broad context of poverty and other social factors, can threaten nations and global health security. The emergence of novel respiratory infectious agents (H7N9 influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus) has also renewed focus on pandemic planning in the United States. The proposed session will ensure a focus on inequalities in the context of pandemic planning. Documenting and exploring the mechanisms by which disparities arise will enable us to develop new public health approaches to detect and prevent unequal levels of illness and death during a future pandemic.
Session Objectives: The objective of this session is to draw attention to and showcase studies documenting and analyzing the causes behind the phenomenon of unequal levels of illness and death during infectious disease outbreaks. After the session, participants will be able to describe observed inequalities in infectious disease outbreaks. They will be able to list potential causes of these inequalities. They will be able to determine at least two potential public health activities to reduce or mitigate the effects of these inequalities on outbreaks.
Corinna Dan, RN, MPH

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Epidemiology

See more of: Epidemiology