Racism is a social determinant of health
We denounce racism of all forms. It is a social determinant of health that is damaging to our community, patients, faculty, staff and trainees. Acknowledging this is a foundation for structural and systemic change toward equity in health and well-being. Yet this is only the first step. The next step is action–improving our education, engagement, funding, policies and practices to accelerate this journey.
To demonstrate this, we must elevate our commitment to our existing organizational value of inclusiveness to create a diverse and just organization. We must look introspectively at our policies, procedures and culture and take action to provide a safe, open, supportive environment for all faculty, staff and patients. Everyone at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center will know that change does not happen without all of us.
As an academic health center, we must equip our trainees, the future of health care, with the necessary tools and curriculum to recognize and address all social determinants of health and their devastating impact on health. We must also provide current faculty and staff with similar training and tools to ensure that all clinicians, during all points of treatment, provide equitable care to all patients.
As a public land-grant university and medical center embedded in our community, it is imperative that we empower our faculty and staff to partner with others in our community to address social determinants of health: racism, poverty, housing, transportation, education, jobs and nutrition. Through collaboration, we will achieve better results and be able to do more together. We must also leverage our hiring, purchasing and place-based investing in activities to support our communities that suffer the greatest health and economic disparities.
This is a defining moment. Only when we address the real issues of racism are we able to develop sustainable solutions to transform the health of our communities, and support our trainees, staff and faculty while doing so.