CDC declares racism a "serious public health threat" months after Northwell joined the fight

The CDC's statement comes six months after Northwell Health joined 38 other health systems nationwide in declaring racism a public health crisis.

News 12 Staff

Apr 9, 2021, 7:42 PM

Updated 1,105 days ago

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that racism is a "serious public health threat," becoming the largest federal agency to do so.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement, "What we know is this: 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."
Walensky also noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt most severely in communities of color, which have experienced disproportionate case counts and deaths.
The CDC's statement comes six months after Northwell Health joined 38 other health systems nationwide in declaring racism a public health crisis.
Dr. Jennifer Meires, of Northwell Health Center for Equity Care, says Northwell is addressing the health care disparities on Long Island with its health equity task force, which is made up of community board organizations and faith-based ministers to assist with COVID-19 testing and vaccine delivery in minority communities.
"We believe this task force which amplifies our partnership with our communities will help us again expand and refine our entire health care delivery model to make sure there's equitable health care, especially for our vulnerable population," says Meires.
Advocates say addressing disparities in housing is also important because your ZIP code determines how long you live and what kind of health care you have access to.
"If we don't address this complex issue, which is rooted in racism, we will not only have a very divided and unequal country, but the country as a whole will not be strong," says Elaine Gross, of president of Erase Racism New York.
The CDC has added a new section to its website dedicated to racism and health with hopes of drawing more attention to the issue.


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