On Monday, the New York City Board of Health passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, while requesting that the city’s Health Department expand its works to promote anti-racism.
The new resolution calls for the city Health Department to implement policies to address racism in its own research and policies, including “a racially just recovery from COVID-19, as well as other actions to address this public health crisis in the short and long term.”
“To build a healthier New York City, we must confront racism as a public health crisis. 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 an historic day for the country’s oldest Board of Health to officially recognize this crisis and demand action,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.
The actions suggested in the resolution include:
- Researching and acknowledging the department’s role in divesting and underinvesting in community-led health programs, and work to reconcile with communities hurt by it
- Creating an internal Data for Equity group to ensure the department applies an anti-racism lens to public health data and using that information to assist other agencies to improve health equity in the city
- Making health-related anti-racism NYC Charter revision recommendations to the new Mayoral Racial Justice Commission
- Collaboration with other agencies to report on fatalities, injuries, and health conditions by race, gender, and other demographics in order to improve data quality and care
- Working with appropriate community groups to review the NYC Health Code through an anti-racism lens, in order to find any measures that support systemic or structural racism or bias, and recommend new ideas to replace them. The Health Department should also advise on racism within policies, plans, and budgets regarding all things health-related (transportation, education, housing, and more), the board said
- Reporting twice each year to the board to promote work done related to the resolution, and ensure department accountability on progress so far