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Kobie Douglas


Oct 12 2023

News Release: Indiana Psychiatrist Addresses Longstanding Racial Health Disparities Amidst COVID-19

MERRILLVILLE, IN In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial health disparities in the United States have come under the spotlight. Dr. Kobie Douglas, chief medical officer and psychiatrist for Regional Health Systems, the largest community mental health center in Northwest Indiana, has taken the initiative to address and alleviate these disparities. Dr. Douglas, a Gary, Indiana native, brings his professional insight and credibility to this critical issue.  

“Health disparities between communities of color and White communities have long persisted, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these discrepancies,” said Dr. Douglas. Research reveals alarming statistics, with Black Americans more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than their White counterparts, and Hispanic individuals facing nearly twice the risk of liver cancer and related mortality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2021 report further emphasized the issue, citing higher rates of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups across various health conditions. 

“The pandemic starkly highlighted these disparities, with people of color experiencing significantly higher mortality rates than White individuals,” said Dr. Douglas. He emphasizes that disparities extend beyond illness rates to access to healthcare, treatment methods, and health outcomes, often influenced by socioeconomic factors such as income, education, and incarceration rates. Chronic exposure to violence and trauma within communities has also emerged as a contributing factor to health conditions like anxiety, heart disease, and diabetes.  

Dr. Douglas calls for a shift from a reactive healthcare system to a more proactive one, urging a comprehensive assessment of where the system falls short. He stresses the importance of understanding the causes and origins of health disparities to develop meaningful, long-lasting solutions. And, he also emphasizes the need for reliable information and awareness of healthy practices within communities of color. This includes regular screenings for conditions like prostate and colon cancer, mammograms, and visits to primary care physicians, obstetricians, and pediatricians. Mental health awareness and early intervention are equally vital components. 

For more on Dr. Douglas’ insight into this topic, please see the full story attached. To interview Dr. Douglas, please contact Ida Cage at 


About Regional Health Systems 

Regional Health Systems provides four core services under our primary care. Your individual needs are a priority whether you need family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and/or senior care. Our locations also offer behavioral health, routine laboratory services, health screenings, health education, meal planning and more.