In October 2021, the New York City Board of Health declared “racism” to be a public health crisis. Why? The statistics say that non-whites receive less treatment, worse treatment, and suffer from more disease than whites. The underlying causes are many; most having to do with discrimination and disinformation. This is not a new problem – but it has been in the news recently due to COVID and the fact that people of color suffer more from COVID than whites. Unfortunately, “racism” – as disconnected as it might sound from traditional definitions of “public health” – is not the only non-intuitive factor in our poor public health status in America.
Climate change, income disparity, political influence, pollution, guns, and other social factors are also critical parts in our declining public health status.
While the pandemic can be easily equated with a “crisis,” there are other similarly dangerous threats to public health lurking in the background. Hopefully, these factors can gain traction in public policy making and media attention because “public health” is now more of a household term than it was in February 2020.
We can only try to bring these other factors to the forefront, but lets strike while the iron is hot.
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