Public health professionals must expose and challenge individuals, organizations, and political parties who directly benefit from hate and inequity, writes Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in an opinion piece for the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The August 24, 2017 piece, “Are hate crimes a public health issue?” was written in response to a recent white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Krieger writes that rallies such as the one in Charlottesville can take both a mental and physical toll on targeted groups—pointing to a recent statement from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recognizing hate crimes as a public health issue. The ACP called for more research on the public health impact of hate crimes and on interventions to prevent them and to “address the needs of hate crime survivors and their communities.” Krieger says that in addition to this research focus, policymakers must recognize that structural racism—discriminatory practices embedded in systems such as housing, education, and criminal justice—is a key determinant of health and a root cause of health inequities.
Focus on structural racism essential for advancing health equity (Harvard Chan School news)
Racism-induced stress linked with high black infant mortality rates (Harvard Chan School news)