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In a position statement approved this week, the Linn County Board of Health called for immediate action to address racism as a public health crisis. The statement (PDF) identifies adverse effects of structural inequalities and systematic racism on communities of color, while outlining steps for immediate action and opportunities for collaboration to achieve community-centered solutions.
“The first step towards addressing racism as a public health crisis is to recognize it as such,” said Pramod Dwivedi, Linn County Public Health Director. Ensuring that all aspects of Linn County Public Health’s Health Equity Policy are implemented into agency policies, processes, and programs are all actions outlined in the statement. Additionally, the board proposes creating an office of minority health.
“From there, this document recommends steps forward in our commitment towards health equity. Increasing collaboration to eliminate racism and racial bias within our community will reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes,” explains Dwivedi. The position statement calls on organizations and businesses to incorporate implicit bias training, inclusion and equity into organizational culture; to offer educational opportunities to expand employees’ understanding of how racism affects individuals and the health of marginalized populations; to provide tools to enable everyone to engage actively and authentically with communities of color; and to create inclusive workspaces by identifying specific activities and policies that increase diversity across its workforce and in leadership positions.
Read the Linn County Board of Health position statement (PDF).
Linn County Public Health, an agency within Linn County government, serves more than 225,000 residents of Linn County to prevent disease and injury, promote healthy living, protect the environment, and ensure public health preparedness. Learn more at linncounty.org/health or by calling 319-892-6000. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LCPublicHealth and follow us on Twitter @LCPublicHealth.