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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, has challenged healthcare systems globally. The health inequities experienced by immigrants, refugees, and racial/ethnic minorities have been aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The socioeconomic, political, and demographic profile of these vulnerable populations places them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing significant morbidity and mortality. Thus, the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionally higher among these at-risk groups. The purpose of this perspective is to: (1) highlight the interactions among the social determinants of health (SDoH) and their bi-directional relationship with the COVID-19 pandemic which results in the current syndemic and; (2) offer recommendations that consider an integrated approach to mitigate COVID-19 risk for marginalized populations in general. For these at-risk populations, we discuss how individual, structural, sociocultural, and socioeconomic factors interact with each other to result in a disparate risk to contracting and transmitting COVID-19. Marginalized populations are the world's collective responsibility. We recommend implementing the Essential Public Health Services (EPHS) framework to promote those systems and policies that enable optimal health for all while removing systemic and structural barriers that have created health inequities. The pledge of “Health for All” is often well-accepted in theory, but the intricacy of its practical execution is not sufficiently recognized during this COVID-19 syndemic and beyond.

Where there is life, there is hope.”

-R.I. Kelly, Irish Immigrant.


Health Management and Policy

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Frontiers in Public Health



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Copyright © 2021 Caron and Adegboye. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


This is an article published by Frontiers in Frontiers in Public Health in 2021, available online: