MOM Signs On to a Declaration: Racism is a Public Health Crisis
In May 2018, the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA) passed a resolution declaring that racism is a public health crisis in Wisconsin and committed to taking action. MOM is one of the organizations that has signed on to support this declaration. Other local organizations that have signed on include United Way of Dane County, Dane County Health Council, City of Madison, SSM Health - St. Mary's Hospital, UW Health and YWCA.
The sign-on states:
We agree that Racism is a Public Health Crisis and commit to take urgent action because:
- Race is a social construction with no biological basis.
- Racism is a social system with multiple dimensions: individual racism is internalized or interpersonal and systemic racism is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks, that unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities, unfairly advantages other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.
- Racism causes persistent racial discrimination in housing, education, employment and criminal justice, and an emerging body of research demonstrates that racism is a social determinant of health.
- More than 100 studies have linked racism to worse health outcomes.
- In Wisconsin, the highest excess death rates exist for African Americans and Native Americans at every stage in the life course and our infant mortality rate for infants of non-Hispanic black women is the highest in the nation.
- The American Public Health Association (APHA) launched a National Campaign Against Racism.
- Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 states that, “Wisconsin must address persistent disparities in health outcomes and the social, economic, educational and environmental inequities that contribute to them.”
- Public health’s responsibilities to address racism include reshaping our discourse and agenda so that we all actively engage in racial justice work.
- While there is no epidemiological definition of “crisis,” the health impact of racism clearly rises to the definition proposed by Galea: “The problem must affect large numbers of people, it must threaten health over the long-term, and it must require the adoption of large scale solutions.”
(See the WPHA Resolution for full declaration and citations.)
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