Today, Rochelle P. Walensky MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), declared racism a serious threat to public health. Adding action words, he highlighted the many new efforts the CDC is leading to expedite its work to address racism as a key driver of racial and ethnic inequality in health care in the United States. He also showcased a new website “Racism and Health” that will serve as a hub for the agency’s efforts and a cause for greater education and dialogue on critical issues.
Statement from Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans. Ten million were affected. And all over the country people are suffering. Importantly, the painful experiences and impact of COVID-19 were felt, more severely, in communities of color-communities that experienced unequal case counts and deaths, and where the most devastating impact was. in disaster.
However, the differences seen last year were not a result of COVID-19. The pandemic, however, illuminates inequalities that have existed for many generations and has revealed across America one well-known, but often uncovered, epidemic that has affected public health: racism.
What we do know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it has affected health across the country. Racism is not just discrimination against a group based on their skin color or their race or ethnicity, but structural barriers that affect racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in the community. This socially promoting health has negative lifelong negative effects on mental health and well -being of individuals in communities of color.
For many generations, the disparate structures that have resulted in many disparities in racial and ethnic health have been severe, inaccessible and unacceptable.
As the nation’s leading public health agency, the CDC has a critical role to play in addressing the impact of racism on public health.
- We will move on impact study to those who promote social health consequences, expand the body of evidence on how racism affects health, and propose and implement solutions to address it.
- With COVID-19 funding, we making new and expanded investments to racial and ethnic minority communities and other disparate affected communities across the country, building a strong infrastructure that will provide the foundations and resources to address inequalities related to COVID- 19 and other health conditions.
- Kita na expanding our internal agency efforts to foster greater diversity and create an inclusive and affirming environment for all.
- Kita na launch of our new web portal “Racism and Health” as part of our ongoing commitment to serve as the cause of public and scientific discourse on racism and health, and to be accountable to our progress.
It is not easy to deal with the impact of racism. I know we can handle this challenge. I know we can create an America where all people have the opportunity to live a healthy life if we each take responsibility and work together. I am committed to this work. I really hope you trust and join me.