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RACISM IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

  • 1.  RACISM IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

    Posted 06-03-2020 08:17 AM
    The Columbus Medical Association represents all physicians who live and practice in Central Ohio. We
    would like to thank the Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Commissioners for recognizing
    that racism is a public health crisis. We encourage the State of Ohio to do the same.
    Although we all strive to treat people with dignity and equality, even as clinicians we may treat people
    differently based on our own implicit biases. The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (2017) showed that
    32% of Black Americans personally experienced racial discrimination when going to a doctor or health
    clinic and 22% avoided seeking care out of concern about discrimination. We believe that drawing
    attention to this issue can help ensure we are all part of the solution.
    We know health outcomes are significantly worse for Black Americans. In Ohio, the Department of
    Health reported as of April 30, 2020, 24% of coronavirus patients were African American, while they only
    make up 13% of the state’s population. We have been talking about this pandemic but what must be
    made clear is that this disparity is not unique and can be seen in any disease studied. Some of this is
    due to the social determinants of health including inequities in economic stability, education, physical
    environment, food and access to health care.
    We know the day to day experiences of Black Americans may include profiling, unfair treatment and
    broad discrimination. This creates physiological responses that lead to increased stress and premature
    aging. Black American physicians have told us on a personal level that their heart races every time they
    see a police officer even when they are not doing anything wrong. The events of this week across the
    country have highlighted that the reason for this fear is justified and must be addressed.
    Simply put, science tells us stress from racism worsens health. As physicians we are obligated to speak
    out.
    By recognizing that racism is a public health crisis we can affect change in Ohio and our community. At
    the state level, legislators and policy makers can pass laws that give Black Americans equal access to
    safe housing, health care and education. Local governments have roles to play to implement these kinds
    of policies. And as local physicians we need to mentor our minority youth to consider careers in health
    care and help provide a path to success. We can also educate ourselves on our own implicit biases and
    work to provide equitable care to all of patients regardless of the color of their skin.
    On behalf of the Columbus Medical Association and its Affiliates (the Physicians CareConnection, the
    Central Ohio Trauma System, the Physician’s Leadership Academy, and the Columbus Medical
    Association Foundation) we are committed to this work to help create policy to improve access to
    health care, as well as to provide health care to our black and brown patients. We applaud the County
    and City for their steps and ask our legislators at the state level to do the same.
    - Dr. Robert Falcone
    CEO of the Columbus Medical Association | CEO of the Physician CareConnection | CEO of the CentralOhio TraumaSystem | CEO of the Physicians Leadership Academy | CEO of the Columbus Medical Association Foundation

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    Columbus Medical Association - CMA
    Columbus Medical Association
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