Structural and systematic racism are a public health crisis declared Jefferson County Public Health and the Jefferson County Board of Health in a resolution passed on June 16. According to a …
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The full two-page resolution from JCPH is published at www.jeffco.us/public-health. JCPH also recommends those looking to learn more about racism as a public health issue visit the American Public Health Association’s Racism and Health webpage at www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/health-equity/racism-and-health.
Structural and systematic racism are a public health crisis declared Jefferson County Public Health and the Jefferson County Board of Health in a resolution passed on June 16.
According to a statement from the organizations, the resolution is a response not only to the need for action within the Jeffco community, but also an answer to a call-to-action for all institutions, such as public health, to work harder in the fight for equity and justice for all Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color.
Jefferson County Board of Health President Greg Deanleau said those on the board have felt a range of emotions in the past few weeks ranging from “anger to grief to the need for change.”
“The convergence of recent events — the novel coronavirus which has disproportionately affected People of Color and further racial injustices — have catalyzed a need for action,” Denleau said. “With this resolution, we are asking JCPH to look at the ways in which public health can have a direct impact on racial equity in Jeffco and make important strides for and with the People of Color in our community. We know that this work is too crucial to delay — injustice has already cost too many lives.”
According to the release, the resolution tasks JCPH with making several efforts that its leadership has committed to. Those efforts include:
Assessing internal policies to ensure racial and ethnic equity
Develop policy platforms which address systemic racism and injustices
Actively engaging people and communities of color affected by disadvantage and poverty to alleviate harmful conditions in which people live, work and age
Enhancing data collection and analyses that produce a justice-informed community health needs assessment and community health improvement plan.
Mark B. Johnson, the Executive Director of JCPH, said JCPH must tackle the issues that affect people's health upstream, including racial and social injustices, and strike at the systems that perpetuate those injustices to build a better, more equitable world for people of color.
“This kind of work is hard, and it means addressing our own culture within the walls of JCPH as well as working authentically with our community to make Jefferson County the best place possible for all its residents,” Johnson said. “But no matter how hard the work may be, it's the right thing to do. At JCPH, we are committed to equity and justice and denounce racism, hatred and discrimination in all its forms.”
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