NYC Board of Health Says Racism is a Public Health Crisis


The New York City Board of Health has declared racism a public health crisis, citing the history of slavery in the United States and the devastating results for minorities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Anti-racism the resolution was approved by an 11-member board on Monday whose members are largely appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The resolution calls on the city’s health department to implement policies to combat racism in its own research and policies, including “a racially just recovery from COVID-19, as well as other actions to address to this short- and long-term public health crisis. “

“To build a healthier New York City, we must confront racism as a public health crisis,” said Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified inequalities, resulting in disproportionate suffering borne by communities of color in our city and across our country. But these inequalities are not inevitable. Today is a historic day for the country’s oldest board of health to officially recognize this crisis and call for action. “

The Biden administration’s Centers for Disease Control recently declared structural racism a threat to public health, as are other localities.

“Racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation. Racism is not only discrimination against a group based on their skin color, race or ethnicity, but structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently in influencing where a person lives, where she works, where her children play, and where they come together in community, ”CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in April.

Dave Chokshi said fighting racism is necessary to build a healthier New York City.
New York Mayors Office

“Racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation. Racism is not only discrimination against a group based on their skin color, race or ethnicity, but structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently in influencing where a person lives, where she works, where her children play, and where they come together in community, ”CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in April.

Public health experts applauded the city for facing an uncomfortable truth.

“It’s a red flag. Public health is a mirror. This is one of the most common ways that racism presents itself, ”said Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of the CUNY School of Public Health who has studied racial disparities in medical outcomes, in Post Monday evening.

“It’s not comfortable to hear, but it’s the reality.”

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said racism is “a serious threat to public health”.
Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool via AP

He noted that residents of racial and ethnic minorities – disproportionately employed as frontline workers during the pandemic – were more exposed and affected by COVID-19.

The city health council’s resolution calls on the health department to seek out and recognize examples of its own historic role in the divestment and underinvestment in health programs in neighborhoods largely populated by African Americans and other minority groups and to participate in a “process of truth and reconciliation with the communities affected by these actions when possible; “

The department will create a “Data for Equity” group to tackle racial inequalities and improve health outcomes and make recommendations to change the city’s charter to tackle racism linked to medicine.

Ayman El-Mohandes
Ayman El-Mohandes has studied racial disparities in medical outcomes.
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health

Health officials are already reporting deaths, injuries, health conditions, by race, sex and other demographics.

There will also be a review of the city’s health code to identify and remove any provisions that “support racism and systemic and structural prejudice”.

Meanwhile, the resolution calls on the health ministry to partner with city agencies and other organizations to tackle “structural racism” through policies, plans and budgets related to all social determinants. such as transport, education, housing, economic opportunities, civic participation as well as health care delivery.

Officials will report to the Board of Health twice a year on its progress. in the fight against racial disparities.

“Black, Native and Colored New Yorkers (BIPOCs) have suffered disproportionately high rates of infection and death from COVID-19, including a disproportionate decline in the life expectancy of black and Latino New Yorkers,” and black and Latino New Yorkers have inequitably low COVID-19 vaccination rates, ”says the resolution

The resolution adds that the New York Department of Health has extensively documented racial inequalities in the rates of AIDS / HIV, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, infant mortality, mental health issues, chronic disease and mortality, gun violence and homicides “that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In the resolution, health officials cited racism in the country’s system resulting from
“Settler colonialism, indigenous genocide and the slavery of Africans”.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
The Board of Health is largely appointed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Robert miller

But the resolution also highlighted a long history of “anti-Asian violence” affecting health, including the Chinese exclusion law and Japanese internment.

What’s more, officials even said that increased interactions with law enforcement were linked to poorer health outcomes.

“Structural racism systematically excludes, marginalizes and harms BIPOC
across New York City through discriminatory systems in housing, employment, education, health care, criminal law and others, all of which lead to preventable and unfair health outcomes, ”the report said. resolution.

The board’s action ratifies a statement released by the city’s health department in June that declared racism a public health crisis.

Medical staff adjust their personal protective equipment while working in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan, May 27, 2020
The ministry will create a “Data for Equity” group.
AP Photo / John Minchillo, File

Further, the resolution cites the mistreatment of Native Americans, noting that New York City is located on the lands of Lenape, Rockaway and Canarsie and that these “original injustices” have been without restitution.

Tackling the public health crisis of racism “is a central tenet of critical race theory” – a teaching lesson about racism that sparked an uprising among many parents across the country, including Fat. Apple.

“The work to undo racism is based on love, as well as on science and
civic duty. This love is not sentimental, rather it is what James Baldwin called the hard and universal sense of quest, daring and growth, ”says the resolution.



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