We have launched a national civic engagement tour geared to a diverse group of health care providers, patients, policy makers, health care advocates and community members; anyone with a heartbeat.
The project has seven major goals:
• Expose dimensions of racism in the health care system through the showing of a powerful film, The Deadliest Disease in America
• Conduct participatory workshops to explore diverse topics related to overcoming racism in health care
• Educate a new group of community leaders and medical professionals, giving them the tools to mobilize their communities for change
• Build collaborative leadership within their community to address one issue towards closing the gap
• Promote public accountability at the individual level, organizational level, and institutional level of society for systematic change to overcome racism
• Reduce racially and culturally insensitive barriers to health care access
• Promote policy changes to the delivery system to provide equal quality of care to all persons, regardless of race and ethnicity.
Health outcomes are generally poorest for racial and ethnic minorities. As the U.S. population becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, with the majority of people in the U.S. expected to be racial and ethnic “minorities” by 2050, disparities in our health care system reflect inefficiencies, ineffectiveness, and inequities that we cannot afford. Addressing these health disparities is thus crucial to creating a more efficient, effective, and equitable health care system that supports societal goals of economic productivity, fiscal responsibility, medical effectiveness, and social integration. The challenge lies in changing minds and societal norms that allows racism at the individual, organizational, and/or institutional levels. The documentary, The Deadliest Disease in America, and accompanying workshops provide a view of these norms and provoke a thoughtful discussion and action steps on how these racial barriers can be removed.