Racial justice and public health

Racial justice and public health

Dear Colleagues,

Like many of you, we have been profoundly moved by the events of the past week. People in communities across our country are standing up and speaking out over a legacy of racial injustice in the US. The recent tragic loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black lives has brought into sharp focus systemic inequality and violence perpetrated against people of color.

We know these same individuals are at greater risk for a myriad of health issues. We see that in our work every day. Laboratory test results confirm that communities of color have higher rates of premature death and greater incidence of chronic and infectious disease. In addition, we now know that people of color are also disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

It is clear that racism is a public health issue and remains a barrier to achieving health equity. We are proud to stand alongside you and our public health partners who work to protect all of our communities from all health threats.

While we recognize the significance of this moment, we also understand that it is occurring during a pandemic and strongly encourage anyone participating in peaceful protests to follow public health guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. That includes wearing a mask or face covering, staying at least six feet away from others and using hand sanitizer. Anyone who has participated in a recent event should monitor for symptoms, and consider getting a test five days after exposure or at the first signs of symptoms. Of course, we recommend consulting your health provider.

We are inspired by what now seems possible to bring about better health for all, and we look forward to working with you to continue strengthening public health laboratory systems to help achieve it.

Sincerely,

Grace Kubin, PhD
President, APHL

Scott J. Becker, MS
Chief Executive Officer, APHL

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