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Posted on: June 17, 2020

Jefferson County Board of Health, JCPH Declare Systemic & Structural Racism a Public Health Crisis

Racism Declared Public Health Crisis

Jefferson County, Colo. – The Jefferson County Board of Health, in tandem with Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) passed a resolution declaring systemic and structural racism a public health crisis during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. The resolution is a response not only to the need for action within our community, but also an answer to a call-to-action for all institutions, such as public health, to work harder in the fight for equity and justice for all Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color.

Like many people across the country and here in Jefferson County, we on the Board of Health have felt so many things in the past weeks, ranging from anger to grief to a need for change,” said Greg Deranleau, President of the Jefferson County Board of Health. “The convergence of recent events — the novel coronavirus which has disproportionately affected People of Color and further racial injustices — have catalyzed a need for action. With this resolution, we are asking JCPH to look at the ways in which public health can have a direct impact on racial equity in Jeffco and make important strides for and with the People of Color in our community. We know that this work is too crucial to delay — injustice has already cost too many lives.”

By signing this resolution, the Board of Health has tasked JCPH with, and the leadership at JCPH has committed to:

  • Assess internal policies to ensure racial and ethnic equity;
  • Develop policy platforms which address systemic racism and injustices;
  • Actively engage people and communities of color affected by disadvantage and poverty to alleviate harmful conditions in which people live, work and age, and;
  • Enhance data collection and analyses that produce a justice-informed community health needs assessment and community health improvement plan.

“At JCPH, we’ve long said we are committed to the best health possible for all people. That means tackling the issues that affect people’s health upstream, such as racial, economic, social, health and other systemic injustices. It is by striking at the foundations of the systems that perpetuate these injustices that we can build better, more equitable lives for people of color,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director, JCPH. “This kind of work is hard, and it means addressing our own culture within the walls of JCPH as well as working authentically with our community to make Jefferson County the best place possible for all its residents. But no matter how hard the work may be, it’s the right thing to do. At JCPH, we are committed to equity and justice and denounce racism, hatred and discrimination in all its forms.”

To read the Board of Health proclamation, please click here. To learn more about racism as a public health crisis, visit the American Public Health Association’s webpage

About Jefferson County Public Health

Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.

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