Biden’s CDC Director: Racism Is a 'Serious Public Health Threat'
Rochelle Walensky says 'illuminated inequities'
Joe Biden's CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has claimed that racism is a “serious public health threat,” stating the agency is working to “address racism as a fundamental driver of racial and ethnic health inequities in the United States.”
Walesnky argued that the coronavirus pandemic “illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.”
The CDC chief said:
“What we know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans.
"As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation."
"Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in community," she added.
"These social determinants of health have life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color.”
Buttigieg: Racism Is ‘Physically Built’ into American Infrastructure— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) April 7, 2021
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Walensky said the 4 actions the CDC would take to fight racism:
- We will continue to study the impact of social determinants on health outcomes, expand the body of evidence on how racism affects health, and propose and implement solutions to address this.
- With COVID-19 funding, we are making new and expanded investments in racial and ethnic minority communities and other disproportionately affected communities around the country, establishing a durable infrastructure that will provide the foundation and resources to address disparities related to COVID-19 and other health conditions.
- We are expanding our internal agency efforts to foster greater diversity and create an inclusive and affirming environment for all.
- We are launching our new web portal, “Racism and Health,” as part of our ongoing commitment to serve as a catalyst for public and scientific discourse around racism and health and to be accountable for our progress.
In a recent USAToday report, Philip Landrigan, director of the Global Public Health Program at Boston College, said:
"COVID-19 has brought out into the open, with painful clarity, these divisions in our society that have been there for a long time ."
"But, for one reason or another, people were able to overlook them."