ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An RIT professor is currently conducting research on the personal impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on healthcare workers.

Anthony Jiminez is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He began exploring the impacts and struggles that healthcare practitioners face, with an emphasis on those providing services to marginalized populations.

Jiminez said that so far, his research — titled “Healthcare Provision Amidst COVID-19 in Rochester, NY” — centered less on personal struggles and more on the failings of the system. He collected interviews with healthcare workers and began noticing that many of them were criticizing the healthcare industry.

“That’s when they get fired up and they get particularly passionate and eager to share their thoughts. So now I’m really looking at the questions of what thoughts do they have about the healthcare system, how they would change it, and what are their critiques,” said Jimenez. “If we are to envision and create some sort of alternative, who better to articulate what is needed than the health practitioners that are doing this on the groundwork day in and day out.”

He said that, as his research is still underway, there are two struggles that a majority of the interviewed workers have in common — they don’t feel supported and moral injury, which means when they want to do good, but they are unable to do so.

“From what I’ve heard from the practitioners that I’ve talked to thus far, this sense of moral injury is increasing more and more because, as a system, the healthcare safety net and other health providers are being strained for resources and support,” said Jiminez. “And these issues were exasperated due to the pandemic. They’ve taken a vow to do no harm, but it’s increasingly difficult to do any good.” 

Jiminez says that he will continue to interview healthcare workers throughout 2023 and he plans to publish his research.