While most people know me as a producer, artist, and founding member of the ‘80s rap group N.W.A., I have another side. I have always been a tech geek with a love for closing the digital divide and bringing technology to bridge the gap and build healthy communities. At heart, I’m a community reformer with a passion for taking care of the inner cities.
Because of George Floyd’s death and COVID both hitting the black and brown communities and the inner city, it’s important to bring technology and infrastructure to prop them up and keep them from going into an economic depression.
Poverty is an invisible killer, and the inner cities are taking the biggest hit. Many of the neighborhoods and communities that N.W.A. raps about have been those hardest hit during COVID-19. The State of California has processed over 5.6 million unemployment claims. Low-wage service workers, primarily Black and Latino, have experienced a higher job loss rate.
While communities take stock and examine the lessons learned from the pandemic, it’s clear that we’re in an era of change. From education to remote workers and healthcare, we’re in a time of rebuilding and reshaping many areas of our lives.
Through the years, the healthcare industry has been constantly developing. Virtual doctor appointments are now commonplace, and the healthcare industry is experiencing massive transformation. Emergencies such as COVID-19 pushed growth to the next level, and this pandemic has been no exception.
The delivery of healthcare has always required in-person interaction between the patient and the doctor to diagnose, treat, prescribe medications, or perform surgical procedures. With the metaverse, the healthcare industry is getting ready for an exciting change that has the potential to benefit everyone.
The Metaverse and the Advantages of the Healthcare Industry
Developed by the gaming industry and companies like Facebook, the metaverse is the merging of virtual, augmented, and physical reality. Just like the internet and smartphones changed how we live our lives, they predict the metaverse will redefine how we communicate. With the metaverse, your interactions online and in real life are blurred.
While the metaverse appears to be technology targeted for entertainment and gaming, it has proved to be a technology that can change the healthcare industry. From improving surgical precision and social distancing to uses for therapy and treatment, the potential of the metaverse is enormous.
Healthcare practitioners are poised to implement this new technology, leading to a transformation in healthcare services. Some areas that can take advantage of metaverse technology are digital therapeutics, physical therapy, augmented reality in surgical procedures, radiology, and medical wearables.
Creating Healthy Communities
Suppose you look up the definition of a healthy community. In that case, it is one in which all residents have access to a quality education, safe homes, adequate employment, transportation, physical activity, and nutrition—besides quality health care. I underlined the word “all” because the definition didn’t mention an income bracket. All residents mean the poor, the rich, the middle class, and everyone else. Everyone deserves the right to have access to quality health care services.
Unhealthy communities lead to chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies show that the annual economic burden of healthcare costs from cardiometabolic diseases adds up to about $300 per person, or $50 billion nationally.
Healthy communities have easy access to quality health resources and can recover from disasters like the pandemic more quickly. We want to build neighborhoods where people can access healthcare services, including preventative care and emergency services.
People in the trenches aren’t getting the protection they need. Since the pandemic began, more inner-city people find themselves displaced and in shelters in crowded group settings. When you have large groups gathered closely together, it’s critical to have up-to-date vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.
People living in unhealthy communities are more vulnerable before, during, and after a disaster. And when you have chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, it’s more challenging to recover from an emergency event. People who are already unhealthy are usually more susceptible to disease during a public health emergency and cannot get the regular day-to-day medical care they need.
Einstein said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” COVID-19 was one of the biggest crises our world has faced. We have an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild our neighborhoods and communities. I plan to aim high and build back our communities, making them better and stronger for all.
The author, Arabian Prince, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and DJ. He is a founding member of N.W.A. and founder of MdDAO, a company that is changing the future of healthcare. MdDAO presents a first-of-its-kind opportunity to join a global community coming together to create the world’s first medical metaverse.