Health Disparities

A lecture series and mentorship programs are a few of the new initiatives the University at Buffalo’s Department of Surgery is launching this year to help address systemic racism and healthcare inequality.


Thomas O'Neil-White

Acknowledging that racism is a public health threat to communities of color, the Buffalo Common Council and local healthcare advocacy groups are prioritizing the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to the city’s Black and Brown communities.

Thomas O'Neil-White/WBFO file photo

The death rate among Erie County’s African American population due to COVID-19 is going down, according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz. 

Bianca Davis

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to the forefront glaring racial disparities which advocates say have existed for decades. Included in the discussion is the issue of healthy food sources in lower income neighborhoods, so called “food deserts.”

About 1 in 3 people who become sick enough to require hospitalization from COVID-19 were African American, according to hospital data from the first month of the U.S. epidemic released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even though 33% of those hospitalized patients were black, African Americans constitute 13% of the U.S. population. By contrast, the report found that 45% of hospitalizations were among white people, who make up 76% percent of the population. And 8% of hospitalizations were among Hispanics, who make up 18% of the population.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Generational inequalities on Buffalo’s Eastside have led to increasingly poor health outcomes for its largely African American residents. To that end, the University at Buffalo and community leaders announced, Thursday, the launch of the UB Community Health Research Institute to tackle health disparities on the East Side.

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A conference on health disparities among the Western New York’s African American residents is taking place this weekend. The focus is on what direct action can be taken to combat those disparities.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Some of the largest disparities in health in Erie County are happening in the City of Buffalo. A public conference this weekend aims to start trying to fix them.