Racism declared public health crisis in New York

The New York City Board of Health on Monday declared racism a public health crisis, passing a resolution calling on the Department of He...


The New York City Board of Health on Monday declared racism a public health crisis, passing a resolution calling on the Department of Health to take action to ensure a “racially just recovery” from the pandemic of coronavirus.

The resolution called on the ministry to work with other agencies to eliminate systemic racism in policies, plans and budgets on a wide range of issues that affect health, including land use, transportation and education. He also called on the ministry to improve data collection practices and examine both the health code and its own history for structural biases.

Department Commissioner Dr Dave A. Chokshi is also one of 11 medical experts who sit on its board. At Monday’s meeting, he noted that the council was founded amid the outbreaks of yellow fever, cholera and smallpox in the early 1800s. Advances in sanitation and understanding the links between environmental factors and health have helped to curb these diseases.

He draw a parallel to the current pandemic and its disproportionate toll on communities of color.

“Why do some non-white populations develop serious illness and die from Covid-19 at higher rates than whites? ” he said. “The underlying health issues definitely play a role. But why are there higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in communities of color? The answer does not lie in biology. Structural and environmental factors such as disinvestment, discrimination and misinformation underlie a greater burden of these diseases in communities of color. “

He added: “The Covid-19 pandemic must render unacceptable what has been tolerated for generations. “

The department is one of the largest public health agencies in the world and one of the oldest in the country. The members of its council, who are appointed by the mayor with the agreement of the municipal council, exercise their functions without remuneration and supervise the health code.

More than 200 similar statements have been made by municipalities, health agencies and elected officials across the country, according to a database maintained by the American Public Health Association. Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also attracted attention how racism affects disease rates and life expectancy.

But the New York Department of Health noted its resolution was one of the first to be linked to specific directives. These include making recommendations to the Mayor’s Racial Justice Commission and establishing a Data for Equity task force, designed to ensure that the ministry applies a “fairness lens” to data. public health and educate other agencies on how to do the same.

The resolution also called on the department to investigate its own role in “the divestment and underinvestment in essential community-led health programs.”

Dr Michelle Morse, chief medical officer and deputy commissioner at the health ministry, called the adoption of the resolution a “promising step,” but added that it was only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

She said strategies such as updating the city’s health code and investing in deprived areas were essential.

“One of the ways in which racism is expressed at the political level is inaction in the face of need,” she said.

The resolution is based on A declaration the department was freed in June 2020, amid widespread protests after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. The declaration promised to fight racism “as a social determinant of health as part of our mission to protect the health of New Yorkers.”

Dr Kitaw Demissie, dean of the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, hailed the resolution as a good start.

“I like the idea that they are focusing on this issue,” he said. “Now the most important thing is to see its implementation, to see the investment and to see the changes that will come.”

He said the stark differences in morbidity and mortality rates seen during the pandemic have drawn attention to long-standing inequalities.

“Covid-19 was like a magnifying glass to allow us to see what has already been around for a long time,” he said. “Racial / ethnic disparities in health have been a pandemic. “



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Newsrust - US Top News: Racism declared public health crisis in New York
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