Faculty of Health Science,
California State University Channel Islands

The protests in response to the recent displays of police brutality against Black bodies highlight a long-known systemic issue in our culture borne from a legacy of racism and social inequality: that Black lives are not treated as white lives are. This extends to health and healthcare, as this legacy of racism and inequality also contributes to inequitable healthcare access, negative experiences within the healthcare system, and worse health outcomes.

This is unacceptable, and the faculty of Health Science hereby proclaim: Black lives matter.

Our program is committed to promoting a world with healthy people living in healthy communities, but to do so we must acknowledge and educate on how social determinants strongly impact health. To this end, we are committed to ensure that our students identify the history and continued presence of racism in health and healthcare (e.g., Black patients are 24% less likely to receive appropriate care for heart disease) and understand the impacts of inequalities on health and well-being (e.g., how embodied stress promotes maternal mortality among women of color). We are also committed to open discussions with faculty, staff, and students on solutions to address inequalities in health and healthcare.

We also recognize that we have much work to do. Our statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in support of our students of color, far too delayed, is only the first step. Our curriculum must more deeply address social determinants of health. Our current faculty roster includes only 28% from non-white backgrounds, and more active efforts must be made to diversify our faculty, as well as to amplify the voices of our faculty, staff, and students who identify as racial/ethnic minorities- including Indigenous peoples. Finally, we must be more active in contributing to the public discourse on inequalities in health. We must do better.

Our program stands in solidarity with the Black community and all other racial/ethnic minorities, both on and off campus, in combating systemic racism and its impacts.

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