Jill Biden says health inequities have lasted 'far too long'




  • In Politics
  • 2021-02-24 22:17:37Z
  • By Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - During a visit to a cancer center Wednesday, first lady Jill Biden said health disparities have hurt communities of color "for far too long" and "it's about time" the country got serious about ending those inequities.

Jill Biden's visit to Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center in Richmond was her first public trip outside Washington since her husband's inauguration last month.

She has been a longtime advocate for cancer patients and their families. Her and President Joe Biden's son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. Her parents also died of cancer.

During her visit, Jill Biden recounted how four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer within a one-year period in the 1990s.

"Cancer touches everyone," she said.

Biden praised the work of doctors and researchers at the Massey center, which has been nationally recognized for its work to study the socioeconomic and cultural factors that contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. The center focuses on community engagement as part of a strategy to better reach underserved communities and to address health disparities, particularly in the Black community. It also works to expand minority participation in cancer research.

Biden cited "Facts and Faith Fridays," a weekly conference call started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by Dr. Robert Winn, director of the Massey center, and Black clergy, to provide pastors and their congregations with key updates on pandemic-related issues, including personal protective equipment, social distancing, and rent and mortgage relief.

Recently, the calls have included information about COVID-19 vaccinations, with a focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy. Guest have included Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as state and local health officials.

Biden said the initiative has helped build trust between communities and the Massey center, which she said has made strides to reduce health disparities.

"It's about time that we started getting really serious about this," she said, adding that the pandemic has put a spotlight on the problem.

She said churches have been key players in bringing everything from food to vaccinations to people of color during the pandemic.

"I think that the communities of color, they trust you, and now, I think it's important that they learn to trust the federal government again," she said.

The Massey center, founded in 1974, is one of two centers in Virginia designated by the National Cancer Institute to help lead the country's cancer research efforts.

Biden toured the center's research laboratory with Winn and Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute. She also received briefings from several doctors on their research.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Biden
Biden's chip dreams face reality check of supply chain complexity
  • US
  • 2021-04-13 11:05:09Z

To understand President Joe Biden's challenge in taming a semiconductor shortage bedeviling automakers and other industries, consider a chip supplied by a...

How computer mapping could help Biden find and fix polluted neighborhoods
How computer mapping could help Biden find and fix polluted neighborhoods
  • US
  • 2021-04-13 10:05:29Z

Diagnosed with asthma at 8 years old, Karlaine Francisco grew up thinking everyone had it. Her friends in south Stockton, California, also carried inhalers ...

Biden
Biden's pick for top U.S. civil rights lawyer, Kristen Clarke, faces fraught task
  • US
  • 2021-04-13 10:02:13Z

President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke, is poised to take on the role at a fraught time in...

European lawmakers, executives urge US to halve emissions
European lawmakers, executives urge US to halve emissions
  • US
  • 2021-04-13 09:18:47Z

Dozens of European lawmakers, business executives and union leaders on Tuesday urged the United States to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in the...

Biden
Biden's gun actions could have a positive, if limited, impact, experts say
  • US
  • 2021-04-13 08:32:19Z

While Biden's moves could chip away at gun violence, there is no substitute for congressional action, they say.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics