Guyanese Professor publishes book on COVID-19 and health system segregation in the US
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Professor Prem Misir
Professor Prem Misir

GUYANESE born professor, Prem Misir, Phd, former Pro-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, has used his free time during the COVID-19 pandemic to study the segregated health system in the United States of America (USA) using epidemiological evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic and has since published his findings in an academic text.

The book, titled ‘COVID-19 and Health System Segregation in the US’ will soon be available through international publishing house Springer; it highlights and suggests remedies for the racial and ethnic health disparities confronting people of colour amid COVID-19 in the United States.

The book explores structuration theory, which examines the duality between agency and structure as a possibly potent pathway toward dismantling systemic racism, the White racial frame, and racialised social systems.

Several biological and epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 are also highlighted: percent of asymptomatic infections, infection fatality ratio, case fatality rate, reproduction number, incubation period, latent period, serial interval, as well as the demographic disproportion of COVID-19 deaths among people of color in 760 counties in 50 States and the District of Columbia in the US.

Through the evidence presented, the author demonstrates that racial and ethnic health disparities are even worse than COVID-19. As in the past, COVID-19, like other viruses, will dissipate at some point, but the disparities will persist if the US legislative and economic engines do nothing, Misir contended.

He also raises consciousness to demand a national commission of inquiry into the disproportionate devastation wreaked on people of colour in the US amid COVID-19 and is optimistic that the pandemic may be the signature event and an opportunity to trigger action to end racial and ethnic health disparities.

Some of the topics covered within the chapters are: Epidemiology of COVID-19; Introduction: Segregation of Health Care; Systemic Racism and the White Racial Frame and Dismantling Systemic Racism and Structuration Theory.

Misir shared with the Sunday Chronicle that the book has a foreword by Professor Robert E. Fullilove, Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center, Associate Dean, Community and Minority Affairs.

Misir told the Sunday Chronicle that the book is a timely resource that should engage the academic community, economic and legislative policy makers, health system leaders, clinicians, and public policy administrators in departments of health.

The book used theory-informing inductive data analysis study design to explore COVID-19 deaths in 760 counties in the 50 States and the District of Columbia, among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics.

Professor Misir is the holder of the PhD (University of Hull, England); MPH (University of Manchester, England); M.Phil (University of Surrey, England); B.S.Sc. (Honours) (Queen’s University of Belfast, United Kingdom); Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (FRSPH, England); and Certificate, Harvard University – Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety.

He is the Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji; Pro Vice-Chancellor, Solomon Islands Campus, and Professor and Head, School of Public Health, the University of the South Pacific (Immediate Past).

In addition to journal articles, he is the author of 11 books, the most recent being: HIV/AIDS and Adolescents: South Pacific and Caribbean, Singapore, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019; The Subaltern Indian Woman: Domination and Social Degradation, Singapore, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018; and HIV & AIDS: Knowledge and Stigma in Guyana, University of the West Indies Press, 2013.

The book can be purchased at https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030887650 once it becomes available on December 26, 2021 at a cost of USD$54.99.

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