Through conducting oral history interviews with members of the Afro-Caribbean community in New York City, this project explores how the coronavirus pandemic has shaped relationships with healthcare institutions, especially outpatient care. During the time of the interviews in summer 2020, there was not a strong hesitancy among interviewees to seek medical care in an outpatient setting, often due to the enhanced infection control protocols witnessed in medical facilities. However, there still were feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, especially concerning entering a hospital. However, while the pandemic may not have dramatically changed these communities’ willingness to access healthcare, many interviews reflected a more long standing distrust of their local medical system due to the historically subpar medical care concentrated in predominantly Black and Latino New York neighborhoods. Entangled in legacies of inequality and structural injustices, the interviews exposed a complex relationship between the local healthcare system and the Afro-Caribbean community that was already weakened, and even antagonistic in some instances, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic — an event that only exacerbated a common and historically ingrained distrust in the healthcare system among the Afro-Caribbean community.
Credits
Cover photo taken by Spencer Platt, Getty Images.
Maddie Winter
Maddie Winter is a junior at Princeton University and is majoring in history with a focus on the history of medicine and disease. She is also receiving a certificate in Global Health & Health Policy. Maddie is passionate about global and public health, especially investigating the social determinants of health and the multidimensionality of disease. She enjoys writing for the campus humor magazine and is an avid cyclist, hiker and Netflix watcher.
Maddie Winter

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