Racial Disparities: SOFA and Allocation

In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic created a devastating impact within and outside the United States. COVID-19 made us painfully aware of systemic racism in healthcare with the allocation of scarce resources for vulnerable populations. In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd by a police officer brought the continued injustice of systemic racism into sharp focus for many Americans. The nation’s focus on confronting systemic racism highlighted foundational questions of bias against people of color in public health ethics and bioethics regarding providing fair and equitable responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, one example was the SOFA score tool, a proposed unbiased method to fairly allocate scarce resources like ventilators, was shown to be less likely to allocate resources to people of color compared to white Americans. In this podcast, we learn from experts why our resource allocation methods fail to be fair and equitable and how we can work towards an equitable approach to scarce resource allocation in particular and bioethics in general.

Our guests in this episode include:

  • Gina Campelia, Assistant Professor, Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington – School of Medicine
  • Edwin Lindo, Assistant Dean for Social & Health Justice at University of Washington – School of Medicine
  • Nneka Sederstrom, Chief Health Equity Officer, Hennepin Healthcare

Jaime Konerman-Sease, our graduate intern at EthicsLab in 2020 and 2021, will be interviewing our guests. Jaime is completing her PhD in Healthcare Ethics and Theology at Saint Louis University.

This episode was recorded on February 5, 2021.

Additional resources relating to or referenced in this episode:

Image Credit: Equality vs. Equity – by the Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.” Image Found: interactioninstitute.org and peacecorps.gov

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