NACHC Statement on Racism and Health
Contact: Amy Simmons Farber 202 309 0338
One year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared racism a public health issue which demands immediate action. Racism causes us all mental and physical harm. As the medical home for more than 29 million people, two-thirds of whom are members of racial and ethnic minorities, Community Health Centers bear witness to the impact of racism in their communities every day.
Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous people contracted and died at higher rates from COVID-19 because structural racism, so deeply embedded into our society, dictates where they live and limits access to health care, insurance, and life-saving vaccines. Asian American and Pacific Islanders became targets in an unprecedented upsurge of hate crimes and violence and suffered verbal attacks in public spaces. Systems and structures have existed for generations that allowed this to happen, and it must stop.
As the leading national voice for Community Health Centers, NACHC is proud that its top strategic pillar is health equity and social justice. We pledge to continue our work breaking down the construct and practices that promote racism in health care settings. We commit to ongoing advocacy at all levels to enact policies that promote healing and recovery and root out the generational injustice that has given rise to racial and ethnic health inequities. Unless we act as a nation during this unprecedented time, the racial divide so glaringly exposed during the pandemic will continue to widen and claim more lives.
Our national reckoning with prejudice, hate and exclusion is long overdue.