Racism Is Officially a Public Health Crisis in NYC

Racism Is Officially a Public Health Crisis in NYC

Racism has been declared a public health crisis in New York City.

Earlier this week, the NYC Board of Health passed a resolution that not only declares a state of crisis, but also calls for the establishment of a "Data for Equity internal working group to ensure the Health Department applies an intersectional, anti-racism equity lens to public health data."

The New York Times reported that the resolution also calls on other agencies to assist in implementing important policies that fight systemic racism along with expanding programs that help to ease public health care's racial inequities.

Speaking in a press release, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chockshi said, "To build a healthier New York City, we must confront racism as a public health crisis."

He continued, "The COVID-19 pandemic magnified inequities, leading to suffering disproportionately borne by communities of color in our City and across our nation. But these inequities are not inevitable. Today is a historic day for the country's oldest Board of Health to officially recognize this crisis and demand action."

Last year, the NYC Board of Health officially acknowledged that racism was a threat to public health when, that June, it released a statement about the killing of George Floyd. "The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers is part of the system of racism that permits police brutality, unjust policing, and mass incarceration," it wrote.

"In NYC, Black and Brown communities face the disproportionate impact, grief, and loss from the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the trauma of state-sanctioned violence," the statement continued. "The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is committed to addressing structural racism within our own institution and addressing racism as a social determinant of health as part of our mission to protect the health of New Yorkers."

New York joins a list of more than 50 American municipalities and three states that have formally declared racism to be a public health crisis.

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