By Denny Chan | Special to the OBSERVER

The recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that during the pandemic, life expectancy for Black, Latinx and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)  Californians declined significantly due to systemic racism that has perpetuated disparities for generations. The time to create systems of care that advance equity and are accessible to all, especially those communities who have faced longstanding structural racism, is now.

California’s Master Plan for Aging presents an opportunity to start building more equitable systems of care for older Californians. In particular, Goal Two, “Reimagined Health” identifies a number of initiatives that seek to address inequities in health care, including a “Data Dashboard for Aging” to track the demographics of the state’s population, age 60 years and older in key health care areas like access to insurance, specific chronic conditions, and consequences of unmet care. Metrics are available across a number of different identities, like LGBTQ+ status, gender, race, and many more.

The racialized outcomes for older Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic must be addressed through an equitable delivery system linked to real-time, transparent, and intersectional data. Initiatives under the Master Plan for Aging like the Data Dashboard for Aging are important steps to fight structural racism by creating equitable systems of care and a better California for all. Aging with dignity is a virtue that all Californians deserve, regardless of race, ethnic group, gender, or economic class.