The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky say that racism represents a threat to public health.
“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 states in remarks posted on the CDC’s website. “Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they gather in community.”
The CDC has set up a “Racism and Health” portal which will “serve as a hub for our activities, promote a public discourse on how racism negatively affects health and communicate potential solutions,” according to the agency.
“A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color,” the CDC says. “The impact is pervasive and deeply embedded in our society—affecting where one lives, learns, works, worships and plays and creating inequities in access to a range of social and economic benefits—such as housing, education, wealth, and employment. These conditions—often referred to as social determinants of health—are key drivers of health inequities within communities of color, placing those within these populations at greater risk for poor health outcomes.”