Looking back and moving forward: Addressing health inequities after COVID-19

Lancet Reg Health Am. 2022 May;9:100232. doi: 10.1016/j.lana.2022.100232. Epub 2022 Mar 17.


We will likely look back on 2020 as a turning point. The pandemic put a spotlight on existing societal issues, accelerated the pace of change in others, and created some new ones too. For example, concerns about inequalities in health by income and race are not new, but they became more apparent to a larger number of people during 2020. The speed and starkness of broadening societal conversation, including beyond the direct effects of COVID-19, create an opportunity and motivation to reassess our understanding of health. Perhaps more importantly, it is an opportunity to reduce inequities in who has access to, who uses, and who benefits from the resources that promote health and well-being. To this end, we offer three questions to guide thinking about health and health inequities after 2020: (1) what do we mean by "health" and "health inequality and inequity"? (2) what are the structures and policies we put in place to support or promote health, and how effective are they? And (3) who has the power to shape structures and policies, and whose interests do those structures and policies serve?

Keywords: COVID-19; Health equity; Health inequality; Health policy; Social determinants of health; Structural determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Review