King Philip’s Diversity Club Hosts Epidemiologist Dr. Brandon Marshall for Discussion on COVID-19 Disparities

NORFOLK — Superintendent Paul Zinni and Diversity Club Advisor Andrew Grover are pleased to announce that the King Philip Regional High School’s Diversity Club hosted epidemiologist Dr. Brandon Marshall last month.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Brown University epidemiologist Dr. Brandon Marshall gave a presentation entitled “Disparities in the time of COVID” to King Philip students and staff via Zoom.

During his presentation, Dr. Marshall discussed some of the major factors, according to research, that have created greater risks within vulnerable communities for contracting COVID-19 and how those factors affect the rollout of the vaccination program.

According to Dr. Marshall, preliminary numbers have shown that in Massachusetts, low-income residents and people of color are already receiving a disproportionately small share of vaccines even though women of color are well-represented in healthcare work, which is a prioritized group.

A question and answer session was also held following the presentation. Many questions asked by attendees were about vaccine distribution and a discussion followed regarding what factors should be considered when prioritizing groups in the vaccine distribution plan. Many students also had questions about the field of epidemiology and some of the research Dr. Marshall did before the pandemic.

“Dr. Marshall’s presentation allowed our students to look deeper into the ramifications inequity has on communities in the midst of a public health crisis and the lingering affects inequity has on response efforts,” Grover said. “We truly appreciate the time he spent discussing these issues with our students and faculty, and how open he was to answering everyone’s questions.”

Dr. Marshall is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health. His areas of focus are substance use epidemiology; infectious diseases; and the social, environmental and structural determinants of health of drug-using populations.

“The ongoing public health crisis is an event that will be in our future students’ history books, but our current students are living through these unprecedented times,” Superintendent Zinni. “Like most adults, our students have many unanswered questions in regards to the disease and the effect it has on our society. We appreciate Dr. Marshall taking the time to discuss the disparities that many may be unware of.”

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