Race and Health: Public Health Sudbury & Districts unveils Racial Equity Action FrameworkIssued: Monday, September 30, 2019
The Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts recently approved the agency’s first ever Racial Equity Action Framework. The Framework solidifies the agency’s commitment to understand and address the impacts of racism on health.
“The Board is steadfast that all forms of racism are unacceptable and have no place in society,” says René Lapierre, Chair of the Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “Systemic racism means that not everyone has equal opportunities for health and our new Public Health Racial Equity Action Framework puts the issue squarely on our radar so that we can be part of the solution and public health actions can work to improve racial equity.”
Under the law, everyone has the right to exist free from racial discrimination and harassment. The Ontario Human Rights Code provides for these protections in social aspects of life including employment, housing, accessing public services, education, health services, retail opportunities, and social assistance. Despite this, racism is a reality that affects opportunities for health for some more than others, and ultimately affects us all.
“Health is about much more than access to medical care. Everyone has different opportunities for health and these are largely influenced by avoidable injustices, including societal responses to race, culture, and ethnicity,” says Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “As an agency with a vision of healthier communities for all, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is proud to highlight our commitment to racial equity and we encourage other organizations to consider how they too can improve this important opportunity for health.”
Systemic racism is when an institution or set of institutions create or maintain racial inequity in their policies and practices. This can be unintentional and does not mean that people within an organization are racist. It is often caused by hidden biases that privilege or disadvantage people based on race.
Under the direction of the Board of Health work on the Racial Equity Action Framework began in 2018.
Visit phsd.ca to see the full Racial Equity Acton Framework and learn more about our commitment to advancing racial equity.