HPIO statement on racism and health

June 4, 2020

The data and research evidence are clear that racism is a systemic and ongoing public health crisis with serious consequences for the health of Ohioans. It is also clear that racism is a crisis with profound and pervasive impacts across all the factors that shape our health. This includes our healthcare, education, housing, food, economic, criminal justice and political systems, among others.

Racist policies such as slavery, Jim Crow laws and redlining were eliminated years ago, but the long-term impacts of these policies persist. The perpetuation of racism within our society is ongoing and its impact has accumulated and compounded over time. As a result, communities of color, particularly black/African-American Ohioans, experience deeply troubling inequities that lead to large disparities in health outcomes.

We are encouraged that many Ohioans, including state and local leaders, are committing to address racism as a public health crisis. There are evidence-informed actions each of us can take to eliminate racism and other prejudices within ourselves and our communities. There are also many evidence-informed policies that can be implemented by state and local policymakers and other leaders to eliminate health disparities and inequities.

The following HPIO resources provide data on disparities and inequities in Ohio and information on how to advance equity: