.Even as the coronavirus continues to surge in the United States (US), the nation’s largest association of medical practitioners and public health care have successfully passed a policy that finally recognizes racism as a medical or health threat – and that too at the public realm. In short, it has been declared that racism is a public health crisis.
The new policy, as defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) is now all set to recognize racism as a social determining factor for public health crisis and highlights the disparities as well as lesser accessibility to healthcare facilities among the country’s colored populace and also the historically marginalized communities who have been living in the US for almost centuries now.
Needless to say, racism in the US – both structural and systematic. It has been responsible for perpetuating health inequality and cutting short the lives of several colored people across the country.
Racism is a Public Health Crisis in America
In the past year, several American regional authorities have labeled racism as a public health threat. This stirred up the country’s social fabric. Some of the county councils include – Cleveland, California, Montgomery, Maryland, Nevada, Michigan, Denver, and Indianapolis.
In a statement published on Monday, an AMA board member said that the medical organization recognizes the ill effects of racism and health inequities among the historically marginalized communities of color residing in the US mainland. She further mentioned, without any proper structural changes within policies, inequities will continue to expand. Consequently, the overall health of the nation will continue to suffer.
The statement issued by the AMA categorically described the three specific tiers of racism. The three tiers within the policy namely, cultural, systematic, and interpersonal. Each factor poses particular barriers. Barriers, in terms of quality healthcare facilities, good health of the citizens, hindering the health equity growth.
Racism and Public Health Scenario
Experts are of the opinion that the coronavirus crises have brought to the forefront, the stark disparity that US citizens face in terms of racism and public health gets affected as its consequence. When it comes to healthcare facilities. Statistics have proved that the black and colored communities suffered the most during a pandemic. The soaring numbers of corona positive cases affecting such communities were a big signal. This warning was enough for authorities to think about the far-reaching consequences. This led to taking a firm action apart from just “talking” about ending racism.
Doctors at AMA are well aware of the unconscious bias that exists in the medical world. In this medical context, black women acquire more C-sections than their white counterparts; in fact, young people of color are also prescribed less-pain medications as compared to the whites putting public health crisis in America.
Keeping in mind the overall benefit of the society and its progress, the AMA also officially recognized the practice of racism is a public health crisis, as a social construct rather than a biological one, agreeing upon a vast network of socio-economic reasons that have been influencing and impacting the American social fabric at large.