Doctors say racism is a public health crisis


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Many local and national health organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, have come out and declared racism a public health crisis.

Dr. Colleen Fogarty, the Department Chair for the University of Rochester Department of Family Medicine, discussed racism, public health and its connection to COVID-19 care Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

Dr. Fogarty said the AAFP considers racism a public health crisis. The elimination of health disparities will not be achieved without first acknowledging racism’s contribution to health and social inequalities. This includes inequitable access to quality health care services. Members see the negative health outcomes of racism in their patients who are often at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, low birth weight, premature birth and infant mortality.

COVID-19 across the nation has been found to be more common and more likely to result in the death of black people.

In Monroe County, reviewing data updated May 22 showed disparities in infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates. Age-adjusted per 100,000 population:

COVID infection rates for blacks was 755 and 217 for whites.

Hospitalizations were 161 for blacks and 43 for whites.

Deaths from COVID-19 were 34 for blacks and 22 for whites.

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