Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

University Hospitals supports the Cleveland City Council resolution that declares racism a public health crisis. 

University Hospitals supports the Cleveland City Council resolution that declares racism a public health crisis. Our health system sees firsthand how racism disproportionately impacts the health of minority communities, which manifests in higher rates of chronic diseases and infant mortality, and lower life expectancies.

UH is an active partner in addressing issues identified by the Cuyahoga County Community Health Assessment, which focuses on structural racism as a critical contributor to unfair health conditions and outcomes. Over the past decade, UH has provided more than $3 billion in Community Benefit through targeted programs and initiatives.

UH efforts to address health care disparities include the UH Rainbow Center for Women & Children in MidTown and the UH Otis Moss Jr. Health Center in Fairfax, established in close partnership with the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. These centers improve access to high-quality patient care for residents of our urban communities. 

To improve access to healthy fresh foods and reduce food insecurity for Cleveland’s urban minorities, UH supported Dave’s Market in opening its MidTown location and has recently established the Food for Life Market at UH Otis Moss.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UH has conducted outreach to predominantly African American neighborhoods that have been impacted by the virus at higher rates than other communities. We continue to work with government and community leaders on providing clinical support and information about prevention and safety.

Since high rates of poverty contribute to health disparities, UH has worked consistently over many years on local and minority job creation. Our support for Evergreen Cooperatives is an example of innovative approaches to job creation and self-sufficiency.

We also believe that UH has a responsibility to promote positive change in the community by serving as a model environment for cultural diversity and inclusion, which are UH core values. Through our counselor-supported educational program, Step Up to UH, and available tuition assistance, UH employees are enabled to grow and advance in their careers. 

In supporting the Council resolution, UH welcomes broader recognition of the impacts of racism on the health of our community. We pledge to continue and expand our efforts to provide quality health care, improve access to care and provide education as ways to eliminate health care disparities.
Thomas F. Zenty III                            Cliff A. Megerian, MD, FACS
Chief Executive Officer                                       President

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