Racial Health Disparities Highlight Why We Need to Address Structural Racism, Statement of Kilolo Kijakazi,before the Committee on Health, Council of the District of Columbia, November 5, 2020   [open pdf - 100KB]

Alternate Title: Racial Health Disparities Highlight Why We Need to Address Structural Racism

This is the November 5, 2020 testimony of Kilolo Kijakazi on "Racial Health Disparities Highlight Why We Need to Address Structural Racism," held before the Committee on Health of the Council of the District of Columbia. From the Document: "COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] is one of the greatest health crises of our time. In April of this year, data began to reveal an alarming trend: Black families and other families of color face a much higher risk of contracting and dying from the virus. Public officials have focused on the underlying health issues disproportionately affecting these communities, such as diabetes and hypertension, as contributors to the larger impact of COVID-19. But it is important to go further and examine the root cause of these racial disparities in underlying health conditions. Research has shown that differences in access to high-quality jobs and economic stability, quality education, health care services, and quality neighborhoods contribute to racial inequities in health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the conditions where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health outcomes. These are the social determinants of health. Structural racism is a root cause of this unequal access to the health- and opportunity-promoting social determinants that drive the racial health inequities laid bare by COVID-19. Structural racism consists of the policies, programs, and institutional practices that facilitate the well-being of white families while creating barriers to the well-being of families of color."

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