Recent protests against racial injustice, in addition to the disparate impact of Covid-19 on Black communities, have placed a spotlight on racial inequities in the United States. Because racism is a health care issue, health care organizations play a vital role in addressing health inequities that result from systemic racism.
A crucial first step is to learn about racism and its health care implications. We've pulled together a list of resources to give you a place to start.
For more on this topic, access our resource page on addressing racism.
Resources available through your Advisory Board membership
- Radio Advisory: Why racism is a health care issue
- In this episode of our podcast, Advisory Board's Rae Woods sits down with inclusion leader and head of workforce research Micha'le Simmons and health equity researcher Darby Sullivan. Together, they discuss the impact that racism and police violence have on health equity—and the vital role that health care leaders must play in combating structural racism. You can also read an excerpted transcript from the episode.
- Webinar recording: Building true health equity amid a global pandemic
- Amid national protests over racial injustice, our researchers on June 4 discussed the impacts of structural racism on health outcomes, and what health care leaders should do about it—both during the pandemic and beyond. You can also read this blog post summarizing key takeaways.
- Blog post: 3 steps hospital leaders can take to mitigate the racial impact of Covid-19
- Here are steps that all provider organizations should take to address racial inequities in their Covid-19 response. Beyond Covid-19, these steps can inform your organization’s long-term strategy to mitigate racial inequities in care.
- Webinar recording: Social determinants of health 101
- This webinar examines the impact that social determinants of health have on clinical outcomes and suggests ways that providers can partner with community-based organizations already providing non-clinical support to patients.
- Report: The field guide for defining providers' role in addressing social determinants of health
- This field guide is designed to help you determine your organization's role in driving community impact at scale. You'll learn about where to focus your strategy, five ways to become an effective community partner, and case profiles of best-in-class organizations currently working to address social determinants of health.
- Webinar recording: Health equity 101
- Providers play a major role in addressing both individual and systemic health inequities. This webinar explains why and how to invest resources to identify health disparities, gather relevant data, and surface health disparities on a patient level.
- Video: How Rush University Medical Center is addressing the root causes of social determinants of health
- Social determinants of health most negatively impact marginalized populations, including communities of color. This series of videos explores the health inequities residents on the West Side of Chicago experience and shows how Rush University Medical Center convenes community partners to impact economic vitality, education, health, and the neighborhood and physical environment.
Readings from other organizations
Structural racism is a deeply embedded root cause of disparate outcomes in health care. Therefore, learning about structural racism and how it impacts Black Americans—from health care facilities to the criminal justice system—is essential to successfully serving Black staff and patients.
The external resources below are not comprehensive, but they're primers that will help leaders think more holistically when crafting their community-focused strategic plans.
On systemic racism in health care:
- Podcast: Black mothers keep dying after giving Birth. Shalon Irving's story explains why. | NPR
- This podcast episode uses the story of one Black mother's death to highlight how systemic racism, social inequities, and biases ultimately lead to higher rates of death for Black mothers in the United States.
- Article: How we fail Black patients in pain | AAMC
- Dr. Janice Sabin outlines the differences in pain treatment that Black and white patients receive and suggests steps providers and health care institutions can take to address the underlying biases that lead to inequitable treatment.
For the leaders of health care organizations:
- Press release: Police brutality must stop | American Medical Association
- In response to recent incidences of police brutality, the AMA issued a press release recognizing that racism is a detriment to health and describing the relationship between police brutality and health outcomes. Although the piece itself is a an informative read, we’ve included it in our list because it’s a great example of a public statement that both educates the reader about health inequities and provides concrete examples of how health care organizations can directly confront racism.
- Article: U.S. businesses must take meaningful action against racism | Harvard Business Review
- Laura Morgan Roberts and Ella F. Washington write that organizational leaders must proactively support their employees—specifically Black employees—in response to recent acts of racism to ensure they feel safe and valued. This article offers guidance on how to respond and lists actionable steps to lead the charge against racism.
On racial disparities in the American criminal justice system:
- Book: The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness | Michelle Alexander
- Michelle Alexander examines how mass incarceration of Black Americans in the course of the war on drugs has marginalized communities of color—including how Black men convicted of felonies face legal discrimination, barriers to employment, and poor access to education and public benefits.
- Documentary: 13th | Ava DuVernay
- This critically acclaimed documentary reframes mass incarceration in the United States as a legal continuation of slavery since 1865. It's an in-depth look at the intersection of racial inequity, justice, and imprisonment through history.
- Study: Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race-ethnicity, and sex | PNAS
- Police use-of-force is among the leading causes of death for young men of color, according to a 2019 study by researchers from the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, and Washington University, which found that Black men are about 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men.
On systemic racism across U.S. history:
- Podcast: 1619 | The New York Times
- This audio series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, discusses the history of American slavery since 1619 over five segments. Of particular interest, she dedicates episode four to explaining how Black Americans have been excluded from the health care system, and how that exclusion has contributed to continuing health inequities.
- Book: Stamped from the Beginning | Ibram X. Kendi
- Historian Ibram X. Kendi recounts the development and proliferation of anti-Black racism in the United States through the stories of five major American intellectuals: Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis.