Health Care and Community Leaders Host Second COVID-19 Disparities Leadership Summit

The Virus Continues to Take a Greater Toll on Black and Latino Communities

LOS ANGELES – The United States has suffered persistent racial and ethnic disparities when it comes to chronic health conditions and mortality. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on those health care disparities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Blacks and Latinos are three times more likely to become infected than Whites, and they are nearly twice as likely to die from the virus than Whites.

Alleviating health disparities during the pandemic and beyond is going to take a sustained effort by health care and community leaders. That’s why L.A. Care Health Plan, The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are hosting a second COVID-19 Disparities Leadership Summit.  The summit will bring together dozens of health care and community leaders to strategize on how to address the devastating disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities.

“Our first summit, which brought together 175 health care and community leaders, was extremely valuable,” said James Kyle, MD, L.A. Care Medical Director for Quality Improvement. “We were able to start developing strategies to prevent further health care disparities in communities of color, including launching an Equity and Resilience Initiative to offer financial support to community organizations that are addressing social, health, economic and justice issues.”

The summit leaders will learn more about what fellow community partners are doing to assist residents, and explore ways to combat persistent disparities.

The California Endowment wants to ensure that our partners and all in California have the information they need to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Anthony Iton, Senior Vice President of The California Endowment. “We are fortunate to learn from those working on the frontlines about what is working and what more must be done.”

Blue Shield Promise is joining our second summit, and, like L.A. Care, is already taking steps to address the disparities that are the focus of this summit.

We are using the Neighborhood Health Dashboard, an online tool to help address health disparities across the state,” said Susan Fleischman, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. “This tool is now publicly available and will help us gain a deeper understanding of unmet social needs that have an impact on the health and wellbeing of our members and the community at large.”

James Kyle, MD, Medical Director for Quality Improvement at L.A. Care Health Plan, will moderate today’s summit. Presenters include:

  • Oliver Brooks, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Watts Healthcare Corporation
  • Hector Flores, MD, Medical Director at Adventist Health White Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program
  • Sandra Hernandez, MD, President and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation
  • David Ryu, L.A. City Councilmember, District 4
  • Sandra Shewry, Acting Director of California Department of Public Health
  • Erika Flores Uribe, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at LAC+USC Medical Center and Director of Language Access and Inclusion at the L.A. County Department of Public Health

The COVID-19 Leadership Summit is being held via webinar today, September 10, at 10:00 am. Organizers expect more than 100 attendees.


About Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan

Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan is a managed care organization, wholly owned by Blue Shield of California, offering Medi-Cal, Cal MediConnect, Medicare Advantage HMO, and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans. It is led by healthcare professionals with a “members-first” philosophy and committed to building a quality network of providers and partnering with community organizations for more than 400,000 members. For more information about Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, please visit For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit Or follow us on LinkedInTwitter, or Facebook.

About The California Endowment

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. Learn more at