Five New Studies to Probe Pandemic’s Impact on Vulnerable Urban Populations

Originally published on The Brink.

How is COVID-19 impacting Boston’s young families?

Megan Sandel, BU School of Medicine (MED) associate professor of pediatrics and School of Public Health (SPH) associate professor of environmental health, and Deborah A. Frank, MED professor of pediatrics and SPH assistant professor of community health sciences

Children aren’t COVID-19’s usual victims—medically. But they may suffer from its economic fallout when families’ food, housing, and other needs are jeopardized by the pandemic-induced economic depression. Sandel and Frank’s study will check in with parents and young children who were previously surveyed during pediatric visits to Boston Medical Center (BMC), BU’s teaching hospital, by the Children’s HealthWatch research network.

“The pre- and post-survey data will allow [our team] to examine if food insecurity, economic hardships, and poor child and parent health have increased since the COVID-19 crisis. [That data] will also determine if such impacts have been disproportionately experienced by immigrant families and families of color,” the researchers write in their study plan. The team will also consider whether policies supporting basic needs correlate to adult and child health in different racial, ethnic, and immigrant families.