Ask the Experts: Health Disparities & COVID-19

While we are all vulnerable to the potential health risks of COVID-19, it has become apparent that this pandemic is not affecting all communities equally. The communities who are already facing health disparities, in areas like access to health care, equal medical treatment, and underlying comorbidities, are experiencing far worse health outcomes and far higher mortality rates as a result of COVID-19.

The panelists in this webinar draw on their research and expertise on health disparities and provide insights as to how and what must be done to improve health outcomes for these vulnerable communities.


Meet the Experts

Cabral Bigman, Associate Professor, Department of Communication

Prof. Bigman’s research focuses on communication about health, risk, and inequality. She is particularly interested in the influence that messages about comparative risk and inequality have on health and communication-related behavior. She provides expertise in communicating about risk during the pandemic, especially when comparing the levels of risk between different social or age groups.

Christy Lleras, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

Prof. Lleras’ research addresses racial health disparities, educational inequality, and poverty by examining how schools and neighborhoods affect child and adolescent health and development and maternal well-being. She contributes expertise in understanding how exposure to chronic social stressors affect mental health, immune functioning, and disease risk among communities of color.

William Schneider, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Prof. Schneider’s research examines the influence of macroeconomic factors, family complexity, and interventions in the promotion of child well-being and the prevention of child maltreatment. He contributes expertise in respect to how the pandemic has exacerbated these issues and interventions to reduce these disparities.

Margarita Teran-Garcia, Assistant Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Prof. Teran-Garcia’s research focuses on transdisciplinary work promoting health and wellness among families of Hispanic-heritage. She contributes expertise in regard to translating evidence-based science to community-based programs that serve children and families in need to prevent obesity and chronic diseases.

This webinar is hosted by the University of Illinois Center for Social and Behavioral Science and Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute.