Special Issue "Social and Environmental Justice in the COVID Era"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Annalee Yassi
Website
Guest Editor
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Interests: health of healthcare workers; occupational infectious diseases; North–South partnerships; ethics of global health research; linking environmental threats and the social determination of health; globalization and health
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Samuel Spiegel
Website
Guest Editor
School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK
Interests: social justice; environmental justice and health inequities; decolonization, dispossession, displacement and migration; epistemic erasure, storytelling and social change; environments, institutions, values and spaces; community-based research and policy-engaged mixed methods; feminist approaches; social movements, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; nature–society relations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 emerged from the encroachment of human activity into habitats of other species, raising critical questions about deforestation, climate change, ecosystem disruption and the impacts of extractivism. COVID-19 also now compels new attention to extreme social and health inequities associated with racial, gender and class injustices globally—both underlying the origin and spread of such pandemics as well as the uneven consequences that ensue. For example, African-Americans have been disproportionally impacted by COVID; lower-income countries in Latin America and Africa, saddled with debt from neoliberal policies, are being devasted from weakened public health infrastructure and insufficient healthcare equipment. So too are those barely sheltered in crowded refugee camps in the Middle East and worldwide, or already suffering from widespread impacts of climate change on the environments they depend upon for their livelihood. Certain occupational groups also deserve special focus—in Spain, more than 25% of COVID-19 cases have occurred in healthcare workers. Moreover, the lockdowns and travel disruptions are themselves having unequal impacts. Food insecurities in Indigenous communities are becoming exacerbated, adding to ongoing colonial injustices. Meanwhile, government bailouts and programs can aggravate social inequities, while abandoning environmental regulations that can have dangerous public health consequences. This Special Issue is devoted to enhancing an interdisciplinary understanding of the social and environmental injustices that precipitated or have been aggravated by this infectious disease pandemic and the responses implemented.

Prof. Annalee Yassi
Dr. Samuel Spiegel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • social inequities
  • environmental disruption
  • occupational risk
  • social justice
  • colonial injustice
  • race
  • gender
  • class

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Trends in Moral Injury, Distress, and Resilience Factors among Healthcare Workers at the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020488 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 993
Abstract
The coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome (COVID-19) pandemic has placed increased stress on healthcare workers (HCWs). While anxiety and post-traumatic stress have been evaluated in HCWs during previous pandemics, moral injury, a construct historically evaluated in military populations, has not. We hypothesized that [...] Read more.
The coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome (COVID-19) pandemic has placed increased stress on healthcare workers (HCWs). While anxiety and post-traumatic stress have been evaluated in HCWs during previous pandemics, moral injury, a construct historically evaluated in military populations, has not. We hypothesized that the experience of moral injury and psychiatric distress among HCWs would increase over time during the pandemic and vary with resiliency factors. From a convenience sample, we performed an email-based, longitudinal survey of HCWs at a tertiary care hospital between March and July 2020. Surveys measured occupational and resilience factors and psychiatric distress and moral injury, assessed by the Impact of Events Scale-Revised and the Moral Injury Events Scale, respectively. Responses were assessed at baseline, 1-month, and 3-month time points. Moral injury remained stable over three months, while distress declined. A supportive workplace environment was related to lower moral injury whereas a stressful, less supportive environment was associated with increased moral injury. Distress was not affected by any baseline occupational or resiliency factors, though poor sleep at baseline predicted more distress. Overall, our data suggest that attention to improving workplace support and lowering workplace stress may protect HCWs from adverse emotional outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Justice in the COVID Era)
Open AccessArticle
Vulnerable Workers and COVID-19: Insights from a Survey of Members of the International Commission for Occupational Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010346 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on the health and wellbeing of populations directly through infection, as well as through serious societal and economic consequences such as unemployment and underemployment. The consequences could be even more severe for those more vulnerable to the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on the health and wellbeing of populations directly through infection, as well as through serious societal and economic consequences such as unemployment and underemployment. The consequences could be even more severe for those more vulnerable to the disease, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Indeed, there is evidence that such vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected in terms of both, their health and the socioeconomic impact. The aim of our study was to determine whether occupational health (OH) professionals thought that the COVID-19 pandemic might further disadvantage any particular group(s) of vulnerable workers globally, and if so, which group(s). A cross-sectional study was carried out with a sample of OH professionals by means of an online questionnaire which was shared via email within the ICOH (International Commission for Occupational Health) community. Data was collected over a period of two weeks in May 2020 and 165 responses from 52 countries were received. In this paper, the responses relating to questions about vulnerable workers are reported and discussed. Globally, our responders felt that those in less secure jobs (precarious employment (79%) and informal work (69%)), or unemployed (63%), were the most at risk of further disadvantage from this pandemic. The majority felt that their governments could act to mitigate these effects. There were suggestions of short-term alleviation such as financial and social support, as well as calls for fundamental reviews of the underlying inequalities that leave populations so vulnerable to a crisis such as COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Justice in the COVID Era)

Review

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Open AccessReview
COVID-19 and Essential Workers: A Narrative Review of Health Outcomes and Moral Injury
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1446; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041446 - 04 Feb 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of added obstacles to safe employment for already-challenged essential workers. Essential workers not employed in the health sector generally include racially diverse, low-wage workers whose jobs require close interaction with the public and/or close proximity to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of added obstacles to safe employment for already-challenged essential workers. Essential workers not employed in the health sector generally include racially diverse, low-wage workers whose jobs require close interaction with the public and/or close proximity to their coworkers, placing them at increased risk of infection. A narrative review facilitated the analyses of health outcome data in these workers and contributing factors to illness related to limited workplace protections and a lack of organizational support. Findings suggest that this already marginalized population may also be at increased risk of “moral injury” due to specific work-related factors, such as limited personal protective equipment (PPE) and the failure of the employer, as the safety and health “duty holder,” to protect workers. Evidence suggests that ethical and, in some cases, legally required safety protections benefit not only the individual worker, but an employer’s enterprise and the larger community which can retain access to resilient, essential services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Justice in the COVID Era)

Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Outcomes: Social Determination of Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218115 - 03 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1222
Abstract
As of 18 October 2020, over 39.5 million cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 1.1 million associated deaths have been reported worldwide. It is crucial to understand the effect of social determination of health on novel COVID-19 outcomes in order to establish [...] Read more.
As of 18 October 2020, over 39.5 million cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 1.1 million associated deaths have been reported worldwide. It is crucial to understand the effect of social determination of health on novel COVID-19 outcomes in order to establish health justice. There is an imperative need, for policy makers at all levels, to consider socioeconomic and racial and ethnic disparities in pandemic planning. Cross-sectional analysis from COVID Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research COVID Racial Data Tracker was performed to evaluate the racial and ethnic distribution of COVID-19 outcomes relative to representation in the United States. Representation quotients (RQs) were calculated to assess for disparity using state-level data from the American Community Survey (ACS). We found that on a national level, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, and Black people had RQs > 1, indicating that these groups are over-represented in COVID-19 incidence. Dramatic racial and ethnic variances in state-level incidence and mortality RQs were also observed. This study investigates pandemic disparities and examines some factors which inform the social determination of health. These findings are key for developing effective public policy and allocating resources to effectively decrease health disparities. Protective standards, stay-at-home orders, and essential worker guidelines must be tailored to address the social determination of health in order to mitigate health injustices, as identified by COVID-19 incidence and mortality RQs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Justice in the COVID Era)
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