In Examining Systemic Inequities, PP&AR Asks Us to Learn from Societal Disruptions

The latest issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (PP&AR), Addressing Systemic Inequities and Policy Deficiencies in the U.S.,” was overseen by the leadership of GSA’s Social Research, Policy, and Practice (SRPP) Section and is linked to the 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) theme, “Disruption to Transformation: Aging in the ‘New Normal.’” SRPP Past Chair Bob Harootyan, MS, MA, FGSA, and current SRPP Chair Philip A Rozario, PhD, FGSA, served as contact editors and authored the issue’s opening article.

“The unprecedented disruptions precipitated by the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and its disparate impacts, especially among communities of frail older adults and neighborhoods of color, are telling examples of persistent and insidious systemic forms of discrimination in society,” Harootyan and Rozario wrote. “During the same time, media coverage of police brutality and killings in the United States led to heightened demands for equity and justice for Black Americans and other marginalized populations. To that end, the 2021 ASM’s theme and the articles in this issue of PP&AR reflect our aspirations to learn from our past and reinvent a more equitable future.”

This issue’s contributors address salient systemic problems facing various subgroups of older adults along racial, ethnic, geographic, and sexual orientation/gender identities.

“Our contributors remind us that we cannot return to the status quo,” Harootyan and Rozario conclude. “Instead, we must learn from the recent societal disruptions, which revealed in even greater detail the systemic inequities and disparities that are faced by marginalized groups. To effectively address these issues, a society that values equity and justice must undertake concerted collective efforts that recognize the interconnectedness of individual troubles and societal issues and must adopt a policy-making model that equitably and simultaneously addresses community and individual needs.”

Some of the topics addressed in this issue were also featured during the SRPP Presidential Symposium at the Annual Scientific Meeting. That session, and all other symposia, papers, and posters, remains accessible via on-demand content to all registered attendees until December 31.

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