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Black Men, Mortality, and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Syndemics Approach

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Join UMD's Brain and Behavior Institute (BBI) as Prof. Craig Fryer (Behavioral and Community Health, Maryland Center for Health Equity) hosts Prof. Derek Griffith (Vanderbilt University) to talk about Black men, mortality and COVID.

Abstract: Data from the United Kingdom and the United States have found that Black men are at disproportionately high risk of dying from COVID-19. Despite this, Black men have not received much attention in the COVID-19 pandemic in part due to the ways United States data systems report patterns and causes of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. In this presentation, I use a syndemics approach to make a case that Black men should be a larger focus of COVID-19 research, practice, and policy efforts in the United States. I argue that syndemics and other frameworks that highlight the intersection of structural sources of stress and biological mechanisms hold particular promise for using research to inform efforts to achieve health equity. Syndemics are two or more epidemics interacting synergistically in ways that exacerbate their health consequences via disease concentration, disease interaction and the structural forces that underlie these factors. The clustering and concentration of heart disease and obesity in Black men, and the chronic stress from gendered racism creates a context for increased mortality from COVID-19 and other factors.