Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Home / Resources / Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Governmental entities focus on addressing the social determinants of health as a way to combat racial and health disparities, but we cannot ignore the impact of racism itself as a public health crisis, and its direct influence on individuals and communities.

Naming the disparities

  • The pregnancy-related mortality ratio for Black women with college degrees or beyond was 6 times higher than their white counterparts with less than a high school diploma.
  • American Indians/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN)—compared to other races or ethnic groups— have the highest smoking tobacco rate. The smoking rate for AI/AN individuals was 21.9% compared to 16.6% among non-Hispanic whites.
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Latinos(as)/Hispanics were 3 times more likely to die from diabetes in 2018.
  • In Cuyahoga County, white residents outlive Black residents by six years.

Facts like these called us to deep examination and we spent 2022 highlighting racism as a public health crisis in what’s become a widely popular blog series.

Defining racism as a public health crisis

Community Solutions examines how racism—especially systemic and interpersonal racism—places barriers on people of color from achieving the healthiest versions of themselves. This ultimately leads to shorter life expectancies and increased exposure to physical and mental illnesses.

What we discovered is that although it is important to visibility is important (making the declaration of racism as a public health crisis) it is not enough. We will continue to advocate for concrete changes across community and policy levels, and add to this series as we do so.

Watch the webinar on-demand

Download the toolkit