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County Health Joins 38 Health Systems to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis

News Belén Seara |

San Mateo County Health is a member of the Healthcare Anchor Network, a national collaboration of leading healthcare systems, which published the “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” statement in which 39 health systems signed on to. Our health institutions employ over half-million employees across 45 states and Washington, DC and have committed to take concrete action to address the impact of structural racism in our communities. 

On August 4, 2020, San Mateo County’s Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution condemning racism and injustice and declaring racism a public health crisis. San Mateo County Health’s joining the Healthcare Anchor Network’s statement further amplifies the county’s commitment to affirming diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.

Moved by the unconscionable, unjust deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, our health systems stand together with all those who have lifted their voices in protest with a call to action. 

For San Mateo County Health, taking action to overcome systemic racism and the healthcare disparities in the communities we serve includes hiring from, procuring from, and investing in our local communities. It also means tracking our progress in these efforts, and actively engaging and listening to patients and colleagues of color, modifying behaviors where needed, and learning from our experiences. 

“Racism is a public health crisis. In Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color we see higher rates of illness and death as a result of systemic racism. We need to harness our collective strength to invest in our communities and to more intentionally hire and buy from local BIPOC communities so that all people can be healthy and thrive,” said Healthcare Anchor Network Director David Zuckerman. “We all must better understand and act to change the impacts of systemic racism on social and economic conditions and health outcomes,” added Zuckerman.

Investment in Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color is critical to overcoming health disparities. Inside hospitals, our systems also commit to implementing policy changes that promote equity and opportunity; improving primary and specialty care; helping our communities overcome chronic diseases; advocating for investments in improvements to health access, quality, and outcomes; promoting and retaining leaders of color; providing anti-racism and implicit bias training for all staff and administrators; and advocating for funding for programming for social needs, social services, and social justice. 

From the statement: “Our society only truly thrives when everyone has an opportunity to succeed and live a healthy life. We are committed to moving forward together. By harnessing the collective strengths of our organizations, we will help serve our communities as agents of change.” 

The healthcare systems that have signed onto this statement are: Advocate Aurora Health, Alameda Health System, AMITA Health, Baystate Health, BJC HealthCare, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, ChristianaCare, Cleveland Clinic, CommonSpirit Health, Cone Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, Denver Health, Einstein Healthcare Network, Franciscan Missionaries Of Our Lady Health System, Gundersen Health System, Kaiser Permanente, Lurie Children’s, M Health Fairview, Maimonides Medical Center, Mass General Brigham, Northwell Health, ProMedica, Providence St. Joseph Health, Rush University Medical Center, RWJBarnabas Health, San Mateo County Health, Seattle Children’s, Spectrum Health, The MetroHealth System, Trinity Health, UC San Francisco, UMass Memorial Health, University Hospitals, University of Utah Health, VCU Health, and Yale New Haven Health.