COVID-19 Interconnectedness: Health Inequity, the Climate Crisis, and Collective Trauma

Marlene F. Watson, Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Manijeh Daneshpour, Wen Jui Han, Rubén Parra-Cardona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic brings to the forefront the complex interconnected dilemmas of globalization, health equity, economic security, environmental justice, and collective trauma, severely impacting the marginalized and people of color in the United States. This lack of access to and the quality of healthcare, affordable housing, and lack of financial resources also continue to have a more significant impact on documented and undocumented immigrants. This paper aims at examining these critical issues and developing a framework for family therapists to address these challenges by focusing on four interrelated dimensions: cultural values, social determinants of health, collective trauma, and the ethical and moral responsibility of family therapists. Given the fact that family therapists may unwittingly function as the best ally of an economic and political system that perpetuates institutionalized racism and class discrimination, we need to utilize a set of principles, values, and practices that are not just palliative or after the fact but bring forth into the psychotherapeutic and policy work a politics of care. Therefore, a strong call to promote and advocate for the broader continuum of health and critical thinking preparing professionals to meet the challenges of health equity, as well as economic and environmental justice, is needed. The issues discussed in this paper are specific to the United States despite their relevance to family therapy as a field. We are mindful not to generalize the United States' reality to the rest of the world, recognizing that issues discussed in this paper could potentially contribute to international discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-846
Number of pages15
JournalFamily Process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Climate Crisis
  • Collective Trauma
  • Ethics of Care
  • Health Inequity
  • Social Determinants of Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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