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racism as a public health crisis

 

June 03, 2020 (Cleveland, OH)

A Statement from The Center for Health Affairs on Racism as a Public Health Crisis

 

The outrage sparked by the recent killing of George Floyd, a black man, by law enforcement has led to widespread unrest across the nation. His lost life and the promise it held, now joins a long list of unconscionable killings that includes Tamir Rice, a child killed in our own backyard. Our community, like many others, is in pain that is being expressed in varied forms.

The Center for Health Affairs unequivocally opposes racism in all forms and firmly supports the use of non-violent means to fight against racial injustice and inequality. Yet words alone are not enough to remedy 400 years of inequity. Action is needed. In the City of Cleveland, leaders are on the cusp of declaring racism a public health
crisis – an important initial step. As healthcare leaders we see firsthand how structural racism disproportionately impacts the ability of people of color to achieve their highest health potential – manifesting in higher rates of infant mortality, chronic disease and lower life expectancies. The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought renewed attention and added urgency to the need to address the health disparities experienced by people of color.

The Center stands united with our member hospitals, public health partners, community partners and community residents in the quest to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to achieve their highest potential for health. Eliminating structural racism has been identified as a key community health priority that Cuyahoga County partners, including hospitals, have committed to addressing now and in the coming years.

A cornerstone of the community health work led by The Center is to achieve equitable and improved health outcomes for all. We strongly support Cleveland City Council’s pending resolution to declare racism a public health crisis and we stand ready to commit to concrete next steps and taking action.

For more information on The Center’s efforts to eliminate structural racism, contact them here.