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The American Medical Association has officially defined racism as a public health threat that has created substantial health inequality.
Racism, both systemic and structural, has historically perpetuated health inequality and cut short the lives of many black, indigenous, and people of color in the US and around the world.
Over the last year, a number of county and state authorities have also labelled racism a public health threat.
Among them are county councils in San Bernardino, California, and Montgomery, Maryland, as well as authorities in Michigan, Nevada, Cleveland, Denver, and Indianapolis.
“The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities,” Willarda Edwards, an AMA board member, said in a statement published Monday.
“Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer.”
Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a Black OG-GYN in Dallas, told Business Insider AMA’s move is critical to address racial disparities in healthcare from the top down.
“We fail to realize that there are so many things that occur at the systemic part of healthcare that if we don’t make changes such as the one we’re discussing now, then we’ll never really get to the heart of the problem,” Shepherd said.
Still, there’s a lot more work to be done. “Meaningful impact happens when words become action,” Dr. Jose Torradas, an emergency medicine physician who’s worked extensively with Spanish-speaking and low-income populations, told Insider.
“Our asymmetric approach to public health and the distribution of resources has taken form over decades, and change won’t happen overnight.”
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color
The disparity has been extremely apparent during the coronavirus crisis, in which Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) have been disproportionately affected.
Black Americans and Hispanic Americans are dying in greater numbers than any other ethnic group and, according to an analysis from The New York Times, are three times more likely to catch the novel coronavirus and twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans are.
The largest analysis of its kind, released last week, found Black people in the US and in the UK were twice as likely to contract the illness than white people.
Reports from early April showed that Black Americans had so far made up up 39% of deaths in Chicago, 42% in Illinois as a whole, 40% in Michigan, and 81% in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County.
Pregnant women of color also seem to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 cases, with one study in the UK finding that more than half of hospitalized pregnant COVID-19 patients were from ethnic minority groups.
Why racism, not biology, drives up rates of preexisting conditions among POC
BIPOC tend to have health conditions that make them statistically more susceptible to infectious diseases. But that’s not simply genetics; it’s access to care, fresh food, and exposure to dangerous environments.
“We have to make sure that people understand that race is …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics