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As communities begin to grapple with their long and sordid history with inequity and inequality, more and more doctors, public health practitioners, and policymakers are looking into the impacts of racism on health—with many major bodies even going as far as calling it a public health crisis. It’s not just rhetoric: New studies are bearing out the potentially lethal consequences of systemic racism.
Preliminary research analyzing responses from more than 48,000 people enrolled in the Black Women’s Health Study found that people who reported experiencing certain types of racial discrimination had higher rates of heart disease over a 22-year period. These findings were presented on March 1 at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions.
“Structural racism is real—on the job, in educational circumstances, and in interactions with the criminal justice system,” Michelle Albert, the president of the American Heart Association and an author on the research, said in a press release. “Now we have hard data linking it to cardiovascular outcomes, which means that we as a society need to work on the things that create the barriers that perpetuate structural racism.”
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