Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Public health is the promotion and protection of the health of all people. But racism is an obstruction to protecting the health of minority populations. A barrier to health equity, structural and systemic racism in the United States plays a significant role in the social determinants of health, like housing, education and employment. To achieve health equity, we must expose and address the injustices caused by racism, and we must support initiatives that ensure equitable health and wellbeing of all individuals and populations.

Take Action

Sign a Petition: Signing an online petition is one of the easiest ways to publicly share your support for an issue, often requiring only a name and email address. It can also serve as a starting point for you to get more involved with activism and draw attention to issues you feel are important.

Contact Your Elected Officials: Providing input to federal, state and local elected officials gives them a better understanding of what issues matter to you and can help inform their decision-making.

Get Involved with Local and National Organizations: Lending your support to a local or national organization that is a champion for a cause you’re passionate about is a great way to be more active in your community. Identify your skills and determine how you can be an advocate. Can’t find an organization in your local community? Start one yourself.

Vote: Casting your ballot is an important step in making your voice heard. Elected officials create policies and make decisions that impact nearly every facet of our lives. By participating in the political process, you’re able to influence the future of our society.

Educate Yourself: Reading, watching, listening – ongoing education is needed to understand where we came from and where we need to go. Seek out credible resources to help you learn how to be an ally in the fight against systemic racism and make a difference.


APHA Webinar Series: The Impact of Racism on the Health and Well-Being of the Nation: Racism, both intentional and unintentional, affects the health and well-being of individuals and communities and stifles the opportunity of many to contribute fully to the future and growth of this nation. In this series, APHA explores racism's impact on health and disparities.

APHA Webinar Series: Advancing Racial Equity: Alarming disparities within the COVID-19 pandemic — such as higher hospitalizations and death rates among African Americans — are predictable and highlight the urgent need to address the root causes of health inequities. This series gives an in-depth look at racism as a driving force of the social determinants of health and equity.

Panel Discussion: Identifying and Combating Structural Racism: Linda Alexander, EdD, senior associate dean for academic, student and faculty affairs and ASPPH Diversity and Inclusion Section chair, participates in a WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion panel discussion focusing on “Identifying and Combating Structural Racism.”

Panel Discussion: Know Justice. Know Pride.: The WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion host a panel discussion focused on recognizing the intersections of identity and the ways racism, transphobia and homophobia are manifestations of the same structural disenfranchisement.

Wellbeing Wednesdays Podcast: Let’s talk anti-racist resources: WellWVU Director Courtney Weaver is joined by Aisury Vasquez, diversity outreach coordinator for the WVU Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, where they share some resources for those who are looking to examine their own thoughts and beliefs around racism.

ASPPH Statement: Racism is a Public Health Crisis

APHA Health Equity: Racism and Health