Keynote: Perspectives on Health Equity with Dr. Rashawn Ray and Licy Do Canto

July 21, 2020
Virtual Event Type

Event Description

This keynote discussion explored structural conditions that have lead to health disparities before COVID and during the current pandemic as well as policy levers to address these inequities.


  • Rashawn Ray, Ph.D., M.A., David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
  • Licy Do Canto, Executive Vice President, Managing Director, BCW Public Affairs and Crisis (moderator)


Rashawn Ray, Ph.D., M.A., a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, is professor of Sociology and executive director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also one of the co-editors of Contexts Magazine: Sociology for the Public. Formerly, Ray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality with a particular focus on police-civilian relations and men’s treatment of women. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Ray has published over 50 books, articles, and book chapters, and nearly 20 op-eds. Recently, Ray published the book How Families Matter: Simply Complicated Intersections of Race, Gender, and Work (with Pamela Braboy Jackson) and another edition of Race and Ethnic Relations in the 21st Century: History, Theory, Institutions, and Policy, which has been adopted nearly 40 times in college courses. Ray has written for the New York Times, Newsweek, Huffington Post, and NBC News. Selected as 40 Under 40 Prince George’s County and awarded the 2016 UMD Research Communicator Award, Ray has appeared on C-SPAN, MSNBC, HLN, Al Jazeera, NPR, and Fox News. His research has been cited by the Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, ESPN, Vox, The Root, and The Chronicle. Previously, Ray served on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Planning Committee and the Commission on Racial Justice with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Licy Do Canto drives healthcare and social impact policy and strategy as executive vice president and managing director in the BCW Public Affairs and Crisis practice and helps shape strategic direction on diversity, inclusion and belonging for the firm and its clients across North America, in public and corporate affairs, government relations, communications, crisis and reputation management. Licy also leads the BCW Healthcare Team in Washington, D.C. An expert in public affairs, policy and diversity and inclusion, with over twenty five years of experience at the international, national, state and local levels across the nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate and government sectors, Licy is an accomplished, values driven leader with unparalleled experience in developing and leading integrated public affairs campaigns combining strategic communications, public relations, political/legislative initiatives, policy, coalition building , grassroots efforts and advocacy. Before joining BCW, Licy built and lead a nationally recognized minority owned strategic public affairs and communications firm, served as Health Practice Chair and Principal at The Raben Group, was the Chief Executive Officer of The AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and managed and helped set the leadership direction for strategic policy, communications, and advocacy investments in executive and senior government affairs roles for the American Cancer Society and the nation’s Community Health Centers. Before joining the private sector, Licy was domestic policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and served in several capacities in the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. During his extensive tenure in Washington, D.C., Licy has played a leading role in efforts to draft, shape and enact legislation and policy to improve the public health, health care safety net and the lives, livelihoods and well being of the nation’s disadvantaged and underserved communities. Licy has worked with Moet Hennessey to drive diversity and inclusion across Wall Street and corporate America. He has partnered with Vice President Al Gore, senior government officials, scientists, NGOs and activists, on global climate change impact and sustainability across Africa. H e also was appointed by MA Governor Charlie Baker as a chair to a statewide commission advising his administration on ways to extend economic prosperity and wellbeing to black communities across the state of Massachusetts. Licy is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership in epidemic preparedness and management from the University of North Chapel Hill School of Public Health and Kenan Flagler Business School, and is the recipient of multiple industry awards and citations for his leadership, policy and public affairs acumen, including being named to The Hill Newspaper list of most influential leaders in Washington, D.C. consecutively over the last ten years. As a global citizen, Licy has lived in Turkey and Spain, and is fluent in Spanish and Cape Verdean Portuguese.

This keynote was part of our Summit, a program of our 2020 Signature Series.

Event Resources

Event Resources

Resources by Event

(Listed chronologically, beginning with the most recent.)

Panel #1: The Invisible Backbone—Strengthening Supply Chain and Public Health Infrastructure | Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Key Resources

“State Actions to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19.” Kaiser Family Foundation. July 14, 2020. Available at

“Policy Options for Building Resilient U.S. Medical Supply Networks.” Adler, D., Breznitz, D., and Helper, S. Washington Center for Equitable Growth. May 29, 2020. Available at

“Can We Contain the COVID-19 Outbreak with the Same Measures as for SARS?” Wilder-Smith, A., Chiew, C., and Lee, V. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. May 2020. Available at

“Critical Supply Shortages — The Need for Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Ranney, M., Griffeth, V., and Jha, A. New England Journal of Medicine. April 30, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker.” FasterCures, Center of the Milken Institute. April 2020. Available at

“Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator.” Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity. 2020. Available at

“A Coordinated, National Approach to Scaling Public Health Capacity for Contact Tracing and Disease Investigation.” Fraser, M., Lane, J., Ruebush, E., et al.‌ Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. 2020. Available at

Additional Resources

“NIH Launches Clinical Trials Network to Test COVID-19 Vaccines and Other Prevention Tools.” National Institutes of Health. July 8, 2020. Available at

“Distrust, Underfunding Hinders COVID-19 Contact Tracing.” Hlavinka, E. 2020. MedPage Today. July 7, 2020. Available at

“Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 2, 2020. Available at

“Contact Tracing Remains Inadequate in Most States.” Capretta, J.. American Enterprise Institute. July 1, 2020. Available at:

“KFF’s Kaiser Health News (KHN), AP Investigate the State of the Nation’s Public Health Infrastructure as It Confronts the Challenge of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” KFF. July 1, 2020. Available at:

“The Biopharmaceutical Industry Is Leading the Way in Developing New Vaccines and Treatments for COVID-19.” PhRMA. June 19, 2020. Available at:

“Once a Vaccine Is Ready, Getting People to Take It May Be a Challenge.” Palimaru, A., Dillistone, M., and Ries, C. RAND Corporation. June 9, 2020. Available at:

“COVID-19 Pandemic: Supply Chain Expansion Line of Effort.” FEMA. May 18, 2020. Available at

“A National Plan to Enable Comprehensive COVID-19 Case Finding and Contact Tracing in the US.” Watson, C., Cicero, A., Blumenstock, J., et al. Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and ASTHO. April 10, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19: Impact on Medical Product Supply Chain.” He, B., Scalzo, R., and Serafin, G. FTI Consulting. March 31, 2020. Available at:

“Ensuring Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines.” Yamey, G., Schäferhoff, M., Hatchett, R., et al. The Lancet.. March 31, 2020. Available at:

“Representing the Full Influenza Ecosystem.” Coalition to Stop Flu. 2020 Available at:

Keynote #1: Perspectives on Health Equity with Dr. Rashawn Ray and Licy Do Canto | Tuesday, July 21

Key Resources

“Inequality During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Ray, R and Rojas, F. Contexts. April 16, 2020. Available at

“How to Reduce the Racial Gap in COVID-19 Deaths.” Ray, R. Brookings Institute. April 10, 2020. Available at

“Why are Blacks Dying at Higher Rates from COVID-19.” Ray, R. Brookings Institute. April 9, 2020. Available at

“Reopening America: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods.” Allen, J. and West, D. Brookings Institute. 2020. Available at

“How Families Matter: Simply Complicated Intersections of Race, Gender, and Work.” Jackson, P. and Ray, R. Lexington Books. June 20, 2018. Available at

Additional Resources

“Beyond Lip Service: Taking a Genuine Approach to Tackling COVID-19 (And All) Black-White Health Disparities in the United States.” Glasgow, L. Health Affairs Blog. June 9, 2020. Available at

“Black Americans Face Higher COVID-19 Risks, Are More Hesitant to Trust Medical Scientist, Get Vaccinated.” Gramlich, J. and Funk, C. Pew Research Center. June 4, 2020. Available at

“Trump Administration Sets Demographic Requirements for Coronavirus Reports.” Weiland, N. and Mandavilli, A. The New York Times. June 4, 2020. Available at

“Compliant but Unprotected: Communities of Color Take Greater Action to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 But Remain at Risk.” Hernandez-Vallant, A., Sanchez, G., Roybal, C., et. al. Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science. June 3, 2020. Available at

“Doctors Can’t Treat COVID-19 Effectively Without Recognizing the Social Justice Aspects of Health.” Julian, Z., Hardeman, R., and Huerto, R. The Conversation. June 3, 2020. Available at

“Links to Information on COVID-19 & Vulnerable Populations.” National Institute of Health Care Management. June 2020. Available at

“Native American Studies: COVID-19 & Indigenous Communities.” University of California Berkeley. June 2020. Available at

“What Do Coronavirus Racial Disparities Look Like State by State?” Godoy, M. and Wood, D. National Public Radio. May 30, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 and Communities of Color.” Holtz-Eakin, D. American Action Forum. May 28, 2020. Available at

“As COVID-19 Tears Through Navajo Nation, Young People Step Up to Protect Their Elders.” Gable, M. Stat News. May 26, 2020. Available at

“3 Principles for an Anti-Racist, Equitable State Response to COVID-19- and a Stronger Recovery.” Williams, E. and Sanders, C. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. May 21, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Presents Significant Risks for American Indian and Alaska Native People.” Artiga, S. and Orgera, K. Kaiser Family Foundation. May 14, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 and Racial/Ethnic Disparities.” Webb Hooper, M. Nápoles, A., and Pèrez-Stable, E. JAMA Network. May 11, 2020. Available at

“Race, Comorbidities, and COVID-19.” Epic Health Research Network. May 11, 2020. Available at

“History of Inequality Making COVID-19 Worse for Native Americans.” Deaderick, L. The San Diego Union- Tribune. May 10, 2020. Available at

“The CARES Act Risks Becoming a Caste Act. Here’s How We Can Change That.” Ray, R., Jackson, J., and Yeary, S.T. Newsweek. May 7, 2020. Available at

“Best Practices for American Indian and Alaska Native Data Collection.” Urban Indian Health Institute. May 4, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Relief for Communities of Color: Fact Sheet.” Black Women’s Health Imperative. May 4, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19’s Class Divide Creates New Political Risks.” Bolton, A. The Hill. May 3, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 More Prevalent, Deadlier in U.S. Counties with Higher Black Populations.” Zephyrin, L., Radley, D., Getachew, Y., et. al. The Commonwealth Fund. To the Point (blog). April 23, 2020. Available at

“How COVID-19 is Exposing Health Care Inequities.” Newman, C. UVA Today. April 16, 2020. Available at

“I’m Shocked that Structural Racism and Capitalism are Going on Here.” Jones, M. The St. Louis American. April 13, 2020. Available at

“Why We Need to Be Talking About Health Equity During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Powell, W. and Everette, T. Hartford Courant. April 11, 2020. Available at

“The ‘Soft Racism’ of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response.” Orrell, B. American Enterprise Institute. April 8, 2020. Available at

“Black, Latino Communities Suffering Disproportionately from Coronavirus, Statistics Show.” Moreno, E. The Hill. April 7, 2020. Available at

“The Pandemic’s Missing Data.” Maybank, A. The New York Times. April 7, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Across the Navajo Nation.” Navajo Times. April 6, 2020. Available at

“In 1918 and 2020, Race Colors America’s Response to Epidemics.” McDonald, S. The Undefeated. April 1, 2020. Available at

“The Racial Time Bomb in the COVID-19 Crisis.” Blow, C. The New York Times. April 1, 2020. Available at

“We Need Equity-Oriented Solutions to COVID-19, Not Stigma, Discrimination, and Fear.” Dettman, L. Public Health Newswire. March 18, 2020. Available at

“It’s Time to Address the Role of Implicit Bias Within Health Care Delivery.” Agrawal, S. and Enekwechi, A. Health Affairs Blog. January 15, 2020. Available at

“Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfalls for Native Americans.” U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. December 2018. Available at

Panel #2: Care Delivery Transformation—Integrating Telehealth and Home-Based Care | Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Key Resources

“Executive Summary: Tracking Telehealth Changes State-by-State in Response to COVID-19.” Augenstein, J., Marks, J., Morgan, V., et al. Manatt. July 14, 2020. Available at

“Telehealth Access, Value & Equity: COVID-19 and Beyond.” IMPAQ International. July 8, 2020. Available at

“Expanding Telehealth and Telementoring During COVID-19: AHRQ’s Expertise Helps Identify Next Steps.” Khanna, G. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. July 1, 2020. Available at

“How the Rapid Shift to Telehealth Leaves Many Community Health Centers Behind During The COVID-19 Pandemic.” Kim, J., Desai, E., and Cole, M. Health Affairs Blog. June 2, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 Resources for Families.” The National Alliance for Caregiving. April 30, 2020. Available at

Additional Resources

“The Promise and Potential for Telehealth in Home Health.” Wicklund, E. mHealth Intelligence. July 10, 2020. Available at

“Home Health Agencies: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. July 9, 2020. Available at

“Where Telemedicine Falls Short.” Blumenthal, D. The Commonwealth Fund. June 30, 2020. Available at

“CMS Moves to Make COVID-19 Home Health Telehealth Expansion Permanent.” Wicklund, E. mHealth Intelligence. June 26, 2020. Available at

“Overcome the Digital Divide & Achieve Health Equity.” International. June 26, 2020. Available at

“How to Make Telemedicine Permanent in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Axelsen, K. and Jimeson, M. AEIdeas. June 1, 2020. Available at

“Opportunities and Barriers for Telemedicine in the U.S. During the COVID-19 Emergency and Beyond.” Weigel, G., Ramaswamy, A., Sobel, L., et al. Kaiser Family Foundation. May 11, 2020. Available at

“Ensuring the Growth of Telehealth During COVID-19 Does Not Exacerbate Disparities in Care.” Velasquez, D. and Mehrotra, A. Health Affairs Blog. May 8, 2020. Available at

“Removing Regulatory Barriers to Telehealth Before and After COVID-19.” Turner Lee, N., Karsten, J., and Roberts, J. Brookings Institute. May 6, 2020. Available at

“Spotlight on Innovation: The Response to COVID-19.” Better Medicare Alliance. April 24, 2020. Available at

“Telehealth: Delivering Care Safely During COVID-19.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 22, 2020. Available at

“Home Healthcare Looks to Step in to Care for COVID-19 Patients.” Johnson, S. Modern Healthcare. March 18, 2020. Available at

Panel #3: Using Data to Disrupt the Spread of COVID-19 and Prevent Future Pandemics | Thursday, July 23, 2020

Key Resources

“Data Interoperability and Exchange to Support COVID-19 Containment.” Mostashari, F. and McClellan, M. Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. May 1, 2020. Available at

“Health Information Sharing Is More Critical Than Ever in the Wake of COVID-19.” McGraw, D. Milbank Memorial Fund. April 29, 2020. Available at

“Accelerating Data Infrastructure for COVID-19 Surveillance and Management.” Miri, A. and O’Neill, P. Health Affairs Blog. April 14, 2020. Available at

“The Fierce Urgency of Now: Closing Glaring Gaps in US Surveillance Data On COVID-19.” Krieger, N., Gonsalves, G., Bassett, M., et al. Health Affairs Blog. April 14, 2020. Available at

“These ‘Disease Hunters’ Developed a Novel Technique for Tracking Pandemics After 9/11, but Lost Funding Right Before COVID-19.” Farr, C. CNBC. April 4, 2020. Available at

Additional Resources

“Using Information Technology to Improve COVID-19 Care At New York City Health + Hospitals.” Salway, R.J., Silvestri, D., Wei, E., et al. Health Affairs Blog. July 16, 2020. Available at

“Telemedicine, Privacy, and Information Security in the Age of COVID-19.” Jalali, M., Landman, A., and Gordon, W. SSRN. July 13, 2020. Available at

“Can Contact Tracing Work at COVID Scale?” Kaushal, A., and Altman, R. Health Affairs Blog. July 8, 2020. Available at

“Building a Real-Time Covid-19 Early-Warning System.” Weingarten, S., Slotkin, J., and Alkire, M. Harvard Business Review. June 16, 2020. Available at

“Contact Tracing: 10 Unique Challenges of COVID-19.” Kuraitis, V., Perakslis, E., and McGraw, D. The Health Care Blog. June 12, 2020. Available at

“Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic Response: Ethics and Governance Guidance.” Kahn, J. and Johns Hopkins Project on Ethics and Governance of Digital Contact Tracing Technologies. Johns Hopkins University Press. May 25, 2020. Available at

“Protecting Privacy in Digital Contact Tracing for COVID-19: Avoiding A Regulatory Patchwork.” Shachar, C. Health Affairs Blog. May 19, 2020. Available at

“COVID-19 and the Need for a National Health Information Technology Infrastructure.” Sittig, D. and Singh, H. JAMA. May 18, 2020. Available at

“The COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights Shortcomings in US Health Care Informatics Infrastructure: A Call to Action.” O’Reilly-Shah, V., Gentry, K., Van Cleve, W., et al. Anesthesia and Analgesia. May 1, 2020. Available at

“Balancing Health Privacy, Health Information Exchange, and Research in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Lenert, L., and McSwain, B. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. April 26, 2020. Available at

“Improving Notifiable Disease Case Reporting Through Electronic Information Exchange–Facilitated Decision Support: A Controlled Before-and-After Trial.” Dixon, B., Zhang, Z., Arno, J. et al. Public Health Reports 135. April 6, 2020. Available at

“Privacy and Data Protection in the Age of COVID-19.” Deloitte Belgium. March 2020. Available at

Keynote #2: A Conversation on Innovative Research Approaches to Advance Our Understanding and Treatment of COVID-19 | Thursday, July 23, 2020

Key Resources

“About the National COVID Cohort Collaborative” (video). National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. May 13, 2020. Available at

Additional Resources

“UK Joins National Data Collaborative for COVID-19 Research.” Powell, M. UKNow. July 8, 2020. Available at

“Industry Voices—How Real-World EHR Data Are Enhancing Our Understanding of COVID-19.” Doyle, M. Fierce Healthcare. June 24, 2020. Available at

“Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic.” Saitz, R., and Schwitzer, G. JAMA. July 13, 2020. Available at

“Using Influenza Surveillance Networks to Estimate State-Specific Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States.” Silverman, J., Hupert, N., and Washburne, A. Science Translational Medicine. June 22, 2020. Available at

“As Coronavirus Strikes, Crucial Data in Electronic Health Records Hard to Harvest.” Schulte, F. Kaiser Health News. April 30, 2020. Available at

“4CE: Consortium for Clinical Characterization of COVID-19 by EHR.” 4CE. March 20, 2020. Available at