Students Talk Science — COVID-19: A physician’s challenge in addressing mental health

Students Talk Science: COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Project
Interview with Dr. Eugenia South, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Presbyterian Medical Center of Philadelphia

Question: From a physician’s perspective, what are the greatest challenges during COVID for the physical or mental health of patients in minority communities?

In 2021, the Students Talk Science Outreach Project brought together students from the CSHL DNA Learning Center’s high school minority enrichment program (STARS STEM) and a partner – Red Cloud Indian School – to have student-driven conversations about COVID and minority health care disparities. We believe high school students have a powerful and informed voice that can start conversations and help shape? the opinions of their families, peers, and communities.

By the beginning of 2021, Black, Brown, and Native communities have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with a vaccine that has the potential to end the pandemic, people in these communities are making choices about vaccination. These choices may be impacted by mistrust due to a long history of racism and discrimination that persists today. Therefore, we wanted to focus on the concerns of students from these communities and discuss how we can solve challenges caused by the pandemic and those that existed before it. This format not only credits the high school students with the responsibility of using their education to support their communities, but also prepares them to take on these challenges as they become the next generation of doctors, scientists, and professionals.

For more information on this project, and links to more information about the science of COVID and the problems of health care disparities, visit our website:

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