Chatham County Board of Health releases statement on structural racism

Pittsboro, NC – The following statement was adopted by the Chatham County Board of Health at its August 24, 2020 meeting:

white and blue health pill and tablet letter cutout on yellow surface
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán

“As members of the North Carolina, Chatham County Board of Health, it is our stated purpose to identify factors that adversely affect health outcomes, formulate plans to address these factors, and to ultimately negate their effect on the health of Chatham County residents. As such, we are formally declaring structural racism as an ongoing public health crisis, and pledging the Board’s commitment and expertise in mitigating the associated health disparities.

Source: NCDHHS

It is an irrefutable fact that race and socio-economic status have innumerable influences on health outcomes. This is evident in a multitude of statistics in Chatham County, and throughout the State, including, but not limited to, the disproportionally high COVID-19 case percentage of Chatham County Latino community members, the decreased life expectancy of African American men, and the suboptimal birth outcomes of African American women.

Source: NCDHHS

It is not enough to simply declare structural racism a public health crisis, measures must be taken to address the root causes and secondary influences if we hope to succeed. We, the Chatham County Board of Health, pledge to work with governing bodies in the County, and our local partners on anti-racism initiatives, review the Health Department’s policies, practices, and services to address concerns of discrimination related to structural racism, access to care, affordable housing, and community education. These actions represent the beginning of our work. We pledge to be responsive to identifying new needs. We remain goal oriented and will continuously, and objectively monitor the progress of our efforts.”