Racism as a Public Health Issue
Our Community Health Needs Assessments document racial disparities in health outcomes, health risk factors, healthcare access and utilization and many of the social determinants of health. The term ‘disparities’ describes the fact that there are differences – for example, more white people than people of color feel that their neighborhood is safe to walk at night, and more people of color than white people report being unemployed but wanting to work. But when we dig into the way these difference exist we find systemic barriers – policies, practices, and historical injustices that result in these differences. Because these differences are unjust and preventable, they are inequities – and they can be changed through action.
Our Health Improvement Collaborative is committed to focusing attention on the role racism plays in creating these inequities and that only by explicitly addressing racism as a public health issue can we create community conditions where everyone can thrive.