March 24, 2021

Iyer speaks at virtual hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging

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Iyer UAB MedicineAnand S. Iyer, M.D., MSPH, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, was a witness and testified at a virtual hearing to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on March 18.  

The hearing was titled, “COVID-19 One Year Later: Addressing Healthcare Needs for At-risk Americans.” Iyer was formally invited by Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Committee Chairman. 

Senators who were in attendance include: Rafael Warnock, Elizabeth Warren, Mark Kelly, Jacky Rosen, Kirstin Gillibrand, Mike Lee, Richard Blumenthal, and Mike Braun.  

Through Iyer’s oral and written testimony, he reflected on the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic as a frontline worker in the Intensive Care Unit and provided a voice for underserved citizens of Jefferson County who visit a pulmonary clinic that he founded at Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority.  

Additionally, he spoke about disparities in access to care and COVID-19 vaccines among at-risk older, minority, and rural Americans. He shared information about rural health disparities in Alabama, in particular, focusing on care access, telehealth and broadband. He also discussed ways to maintain equity in the vaccine distribution process.  

“Being asked to speak on a national stage for the U.S. Senate was very meaningful for me,” says Iyer. “To have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of local communities in Alabama and bring a voice to the challenges my patients and their families face was an honor.” 

Iyer hopes the dialogue will stimulate further discussion and lead to meaningful legislation and policy changes that positively affect the lives of Alabamians in the communities hardest hit by COVID-19.