Columbus, OH

Columbus Working to Reduce Racism as a Public Health Threat

Liz Fe Lifestyle


The system has been hurting America's culture for decades. Freedom and prosperity have been largely reserved for white people for years as we have had oppression for people of color. It has become ever more apparent after the killing of George Floyd just last year during the pandemic. Floyd dying under the officer's kneeled to a large outcry against racial Injustice and the US across several different Generations. People across the country then started calling out for others and justice has done due to racial discrimination. today more than ever there's a large conversation going on about racism and where it stands in our country. The issue is now being talked about in schools, workplaces, and other places of residency so we can all get the education we solely deserve. But racism isn't just affecting how we act and behave, it is affecting our physical health.

The city of Columbus is working on reducing racism as a public health threat in several areas of the state. One way they are trying to make an effort to help this epidemic is through the CelebrateOne program. The rate of infants that die before the age of 1 per 1000 live births. In Franklin County alone the rate was 11.4 for black infants and 4.3 for white infants in 2019 alone. The rates skyrocket when you add in the entire state with it being 14.3 for black infants and 5.1 for white infants all according to the Ohio Department of Health. It seems like the efforts of CelebrateOne’s produced have helped Franklin County's overall infant mortality rate. from being 8.1 in 2012 to 6.6 in 2020. Though poverty is a big issue in the mortality rate of infants. It's not always those living in poverty who suffer from this issue.

Many other partners with CelebrateOne have agreed with Stapleton. Therefore their goal going forward is to help lessen the bias of medical staff. UHCAN Ohio Has been gracious enough to help the hospital system set up anti-racism initiatives along with help in the community.

Some organizations have been proactive such as Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Since the killing of George Floyd last year the University has prompted a massive attempt to help face the racism issue and make changes. They have even started an anti-racism initiative that began Last Summer. They are really trying to include how nurses, dentists, and other medical staff are taught and how that relates to racism. Showing how much diversity is in the hospital staff and how they can examine and understand their biases. Do they know that changes will not come quickly nor easily and they know that one of the biggest hurdles will be systemic racism? They also know addressing racism is the only way to move forward in this issue. Changes made in the Healthcare System will not only help improve blacks but also help whites. This is a two-way street and the people leading the charge want to know that this is for everyone.

The pandemic has put racism and black mistrust of the Healthcare System into the spotlight. It has been shown that colored communities have been at higher risk of contracting the disease. but mistrust in the house care system has caused more deaths and sickness than wanted. A lot of this is about educating and giving those lesser communities the proper education needed about the pandemic.

Another way the community is trying to make an effort is the Franklin County Public Health hiring Lisa dent. Lisa has been hired as associate director of equity and inclusion at Franklin County Public Health. She has started by setting up a program to train all the health department staff about equity as well as ways to communicate with other employees and the community at Large that are from different cultures. This is a roundabout way would mean listening to different community members and other staff and the Health Department about how to get things perceived and tailored to specific groups. As well as hiring dent they have also made an equity advisory Council that is made up of representatives from more than 20 Community organizations. They meet monthly to help provide some insight that not everyone can get to. The first thing the council wants to do is look at poverty and look at how lower-income neighborhoods can be helped by Healthcare facility stores and grocery stores in the area, all things that could help improve the health of the community.

Overall there are several issues to be solved in the Health Community that involve racism. Racism is everywhere and even the Healthcare Community isn't unscathed. It will be a long battle but it will be a battle worth fighting.

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