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Racial inequities in health: The impact of COVID-19 in Wales and beyond

Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2022

The ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on long-standing inequities in health within Black and minority ethnic communities in Wales, the UK and beyond.

Dr Jenny Douglas presents an overview of racial inequities in health from a historical and sociological perspective, focusing primarily on the UK, but making links to the US. The presentation will focus on the ways in which the pandemic merely reflected and amplified intersectional inequities that had existed previously. 

Dr Roiyah Saltus will build on this and look specifically at racial inequalities in health in Wales and draw upon her recent research on COVID-19 with Black and minority ethnic communities in Wales.


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See all links referenced in the presentations

Racial Inequities in health : the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on BME populations

Research Characteristics and outcomes of pregnant women admitted to hospital with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK: national population based cohort study. BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2107 (Published 08 June 2020) BMJ 2020;369:m2107

BBC / David Harewood (March 2nd 2021) Is Covid Killing People of Colour? BBC / OU. Race, Covid and Me https://youtu.be/FdaGz5uFfRQ

The Impact of Covid in Wales: A reflection on Inequity and Solidarity 

Rocio Cifuentes (2020) All in it together? The impact of Coronavirus on BAME people in Wales 

Conduct a rapid review and change of death certification to include a field for ethnicity (2020) 

Chief Medical Officer for Wales: Special Report (2020) - overview of key health and wellbeing challenges.  

First Minister’s BAME COVID-19 Advisory Group Report of the Socioeconomic Subgroup (2020)

Improving Race Equality in Wales (2021) Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) undertook a rapid review, past reports, inquiries, research, community gathered insights and good practice rooted in the lives, health and wellbeing of  Black and minoritised groups.

Thomas DR, Orife O, Plimmer A, Williams C, Karani G, Evans MR, Longley P, Janiec J, Saltus R, Shankar AG. Ethnic variation in outcome of people hospitalised during the first COVID-19 epidemic wave in Wales (UK): an analysis of national surveillance data using Onomap, a name-based ethnicity classification tool. BMJ Open. 2021 Aug 18;11(8):e048335. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34408047/  

Karl Murray (2020) The impact of COVID-19 on BAME Community and Voluntary Sector Organisations in Wales: Innovation, Resilience and Sustainability 

Saltus, R (2020) Holding on to the gains: Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on BAME groups in Wales

Saltus, R (2020) On yearning for the ‘old ways’ in the time of COVID – Sitting in the Twilight: Wellbeing, Aloneness and Leisure: Capturing the stories of Caribbean Migrants, 80 years + 

Bevan Foundation (2022) State of Wales Briefing: How COVID Changed Wales 



About the presenters


Dr Jenny Douglas is a senior lecturer in health promotion at the Open University. Dr Douglas holds a PhD in Women’s Studies and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of Black women. Her research is both varied and wide-ranging, spanning 30 years and covering issues of race, health, gender and ethnicity. The key theme unifying her research and activism is intersectionality – exploring how ‘race’, class and gender affect particular aspects of African-Caribbean women’s health.

Dr Roiyah Saltus is a research fellow at the School of Care Sciences at the University of South Wales. Since joining USW in 2002, she has led teams of researchers and collaborated with colleagues across the UK on a wide range of studies and scholarly activities, a key aspect of which has been to draw out the voices of people from marginalised, migrant and minority ethnic population groups. A sociologist by training, Dr Saltus’ research incorporates critical race theory, feminism, community development theory, and critical perspectives in health, social policy and practice.

About the presentations


These presentations were given as part of Inequalities and Solidarities: The impact of Covid in Wales, part of the OpenTalks series of events run by The Open University in Wales. The event took place on Wednesday 4 May 2022. 

See also

Covid Chronicles from the Margins logo

Covid Chronicles from the Margins investigates how forced migrants from around the world are responding to the pandemic via creative and artful resistance to marginalisation. It exploits the creative potential of smartphone tools for digital ethnographic research. Migrants share pandemic experiences in poems, songs, music, photos, short videos, written testimonies, diaries, artworks and blogs.


Learn more with OpenLearn



OpenTalks logo / logo Sgwrs Agored.

OpenTalks is a series of events run by The Open University in Wales. OpenTalks work to engage the public with The OU’s research and aims to make academics’ work inspiring and accessible to communities in Wales. This supports institutional aims to make education open to all and supports wider OU work to build an informed, engaged and prosperous Wales.

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