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39 Health Systems Declare: It is Undeniable, Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Mobilizing anchor institutions Demanding racial equity

PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release

Contact: Bich Ha Pham, Manager, Communications & Policy, Healthcare Anchor Network, 202-559-1473 ext 311, bpham@democracycollaborative.org

Thirty-nine health systems in 45 states and Washington, DC have committed to addressing racism and the public health disparities caused by racism. 

Washington, DC, September 27, 2020 Health institutions employing over half-million employees across 45 states and Washington, DC have committed to take action to address the impact of structural racism in their communities. The Healthcare Anchor Network, a national collaboration of leading healthcare systems, published the “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” statement which 39 health systems signed on to.

Moved by the unconscionable, unjust deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, these health systems stand together with all those who have lifted their voices in protest with a call to action.

For these health systems, taking action to overcome systemic racism and the healthcare disparities in the communities they serve includes hiring from, procuring from, and investing in their local communities. It also means tracking their progress in these efforts, and actively engaging and listening to patients and colleagues of color, modifying behaviors where needed, and learning from their experiences.

“Racism is a public health crisis. In Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color we see higher rates of illness and death as a result of systemic racism. We need to harness our collective strength to invest in our communities and to more intentionally hire and buy from local BIPOC communities so that all people can be healthy and thrive,” said Healthcare Anchor Network Director David Zuckerman. “We all must better understand and act to change the impacts of systemic racism on social and economic conditions and health outcomes,” added Zuckerman.

Investment in Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color is critical to overcoming health disparities. Inside the hospital, these systems also commit to implementing policy changes that promote equity and opportunity; improving primary and specialty care; helping their communities overcome chronic diseases; advocating for investments in improvements to health  access, quality, and outcomes; promoting and retaining leaders of color; providing anti-racism and implicit bias training for all staff and administrators; and advocating for funding for programming for social needs, social services, and social justice.

From the statement: “Our society only truly thrives when everyone has an opportunity to succeed and live a healthy life. We are committed to moving forward together. By harnessing the collective strengths of our organizations, we will help serve our communities as agents of change.”

The healthcare systems that have signed onto this statement are: Advocate Aurora Health, Alameda Health System, AMITA Health, Baystate Health, BJC HealthCare, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, ChristianaCare, Cleveland Clinic, CommonSpirit Health, Cone Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, Denver Health, Einstein Healthcare Network, Franciscan Missionaries Of Our Lady Health System, Gundersen Health System, Kaiser Permanente, Lurie Children’s, M Health Fairview, Maimonides Medical Center, Mass General Brigham, Northwell Health, ProMedica, Providence St. Joseph Health, Rush University Medical Center, RWJBarnabas Health, San Mateo County Health, Seattle Children’s, Spectrum Health, The MetroHealth System, Trinity Health, UC San Francisco, UMass Memorial Health, University Hospitals, University of Utah Health, VCU Health, and Yale New Haven Health.

 

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