Medical Realities: Inequity in the Age of COVID-19
Date(s) - April 29, 2020
10:00 am - 11:00 am
The COVID-19 crisis has shone a bright spotlight on disparities in medical outcomes across communities. In St. Louis and many other cities, this means black residents are sickening and dying at tragically high rates compared to other groups.
This forum is designed to look past the headlines and statistics to the mechanisms. How, exactly, is an African-American mother in North St. Louis in greater danger from the virus because of her race and zip code? What are the social and medical practices, policies, and realities that make the COVID virus a bigger threat to communities of color?
- Fredrick Echols, MD, Director, City of St. Louis Department of Health
- Alex Garza, MD, Chief Medical Officer for SSM Health, & Incident Commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force
- Laurie Punch, MD, Trauma Surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Associate Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
FREE and open to all; registration required.
Dr. Fredrick Echols is the Director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health – the first medical doctor to serve as health director since 2007. Prior to becoming Director, Echols served as the Director of Communicable Disease, Vector and Veterinary Programs for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, where he was responsible for overseeing daily operations, strategic planning, fiscal management of a multi-million dollar budget and program development and implementation.
Prior to his position with St. Louis County, Echols served as Chief of Communicable Diseases for the Illinois Department of Public Health and as a physician in the U.S. Navy, where he managed a staff of medical and ancillary personnel.
Echols holds a bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-med from Clark Atlanta University and a medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. He is a current member of the American Public Health Association, Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the American Sexual Health Association and several other professional organizations and national work groups.
As Chief Medical Officer for SSM Health since 2018, Dr. Alex Garza is responsible for quality, patient safety, clinical analytics, and for positioning the organization as a leader in healthcare nationally and internationally. Prior to this role, he served as Chief Quality Officer for SSM as well as the Chief Medical Officer for the St. Louis Region.
Before joining SSM Health, he was Associate Dean and Professor at the Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice. He served as Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he legislated health, medical and biodefense authority for the DHS and played a critical role in protecting the United States from threats of terrorism. Dr. Garza is also a Colonel with over 20 years of service in the US Army Reserves. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and serves as the Command Surgeon for the 352 Civil Affairs Command. He has received numerous awards for his service including the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge.
Dr. Garza received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, a medical degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a master’s degree in Public Health from Saint Louis University. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at Truman Medical Center/University of Missouri at Kansas City. Dr. Garza is board certified in emergency medicine.
Dr. Laurie Punch loves to heal. Educated in medicine at the University of Connecticut and trained in surgery at the University of Maryland and R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, this desire to heal has brought to life a career with a three-fold focus: education, violence and equity. As a trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine this work comes to life in various undergraduate and graduate medical education courses that focus on the experience of violence related injury across the entire spectrum of illness and healing.
Through community engagement in St. Louis, Dr. Punch carries this mission forward each day, bridging the gap between the resources inside healthcare and the voices of the people. This includes a campaign to bring the national “Stop the Bleed” campaign to members of the St. Louis community at risk for violence and serious injury. This also includes the creation of “The T”, an a community “Trauma Center” which focuses on harm reduction as a mechanism for primary prevention. Looking to advance the knowledge and bravery of learners of all levels in the management of violence and injury, both in and out of the hospital, Dr. Punch works diligently to serve medical professionals, patients, families and communities in their shared journey toward healing.