Declare Racism A Public Health Crisis

HB 6662 – An Act Declaring Racism As A Public Health Crisis And Establishing The Commission On Racial Equity In Public Health.

Official summary: To declare racism as a public health crisis, establish the Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health and require studies concerning the racial equity of various state programs related to such crisis.

House Bill 6662 is an important acknowledgment of one of the most harmful consequences of racism – public health outcomes for people of color, particularly Black people.. The bill also includes some ways to study and gain information to make good policy in the future.

Health Equity Solutions states that “declaring racism to be a public health crisis or emergency offers a clear path to intentionally acknowledging and addressing disparities and inequities. Adopting a resolution can catalyze and authorize data analysis, and policy analysis to prevent unintentional injustices.” cite: Health Equity Solutions, Inc

The National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter testified:

“Racism is a social determinant of health, causing inequity and disparate outcomes in many areas of life. People of color, especially our Black neighbors, are more likely to experience poor health outcomes as a consequence of these inequities. While not a new situation, COVID-19 has highlighted this health divide with people of color in Connecticut bearing a disproportionate burden of illness and death.


Racism is a public health crisis. Racist practices and policies traumatize and then re-traumatize. The impact is then used as a vulnerability to exploit. Social workers understand the significance of delivering trauma-informed care, no matter their field of practice. The trauma of racism can potentially result in multiple lifelong consequences. Instead of asking individuals “What is wrong with you?” trauma-informed care directs us to ask, “What has happened to you?” We now consider the importance of adding, “And what have we – systems  [institutions,] and organizations – done to you?[1]

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