The American Medical Association has officially defined racism as a public health threat.
“The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities,” AMA board member Willarda Edwards said in a statement issued this week by the organization, which has vowed to enact new policies to address such injustices.
“Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer,” Edwards said.
Over the past year, several county and state authorities — including in Maryland — have also labeled racism as a public health threat, Business Insider reported.
Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a Black obstetrician-gynecologist in Dallas, stressed the importance of the AMA designation in addressing racial disparities in health care.
“We fail to realize that there are so many things that occur at the systemic part of health care that if we don’t make changes such as the one we’re discussing now, then we’ll never really get to the heart of the problem,” Shepherd told Business Insider.