Health Disparities During COVID for Persons of Color in the Military

This panel was intentionally created for the purpose of discussing experiences of military psychologists of diverse backgrounds and their experiences and/or studies around racism. The presence of a global viral pandemic has made space for people to explore the racism pandemic that has been present in the U.S. for centuries prior to Covid-19. This panel of esteemed military psychologists of color will discuss their expertise and experiences of navigating the world, emphasizing the presence of various health/social/economic disparities, institutional racism in structures such as the military and academia, inconsistencies of treatment in the justice system, and the impact of racism on people of color in the military. They will each offer insights into their areas of expertise as it pertains to the impact of racism from a psychological perspective.Presenters will beErin Moeser-Whittle and Jessica Smedley.

Moral Distress, Diversity, and COVID-19
A widely used working conceptualization of moral injury is “perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations” (Litz et al., 2009). Combat situations, and especially guerilla warfare, often result in ambiguous, split-second decisions, in which the sanctioned course of action is not readily apparent or results in collateral harm. For these reasons, service members in warzones may perpetrate action or witness acts that transgress their moral code. While two presenters discuss moral injury in service members, moral injury occurs in other occupations. Two presentations also address moral injury in the context of healthcare providers and intelligence, surveillance officers. Although some traditional treatments have been used or adapted to treat moral injury, non-traditional treatments are needed as well. The presenters will also discuss non-traditional treatments being explored for moral injury. Presenters will bePaula Domenici, Jeremy D. Jinkerson, Michelle L. Kelley, Adrian J. Bravo, Alan D. Ogle, Reed Reichwald, J. Brian Rutland, and Joseph M. Currier.

The impact of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of military service members and veterans from an international perspective
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit every nation in the world, impacting on their citizens in a variety of ways, including the members and veterans of their nation’s militaries. In this panel, how nations responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the pandemic affected military and veteran health and wellbeing will be discussed. In the first part of the panel, the impact of the pandemic on active duty military personnel among two nations will be presented. In the second half of the panel, how veterans were impacted by the pandemic among three nations will be presented. Collectively these initial findings will enable nations to gather lessons learned in order to improve how military and veterans may be supported in their respective nations. Presenters will beCarl Andrew Castro, Hubert Annen, Amy Adler, Phillip Quartana, Sara Kintzle, Anthony Nazarov, and Nicola Fear.