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Recommended Reading: Systemic Racism, Healthcare, Hope, and Death

In this moment, as I strive to learn more about systemic racism and disparities in healthcare, I am overwhelmed by the amount of great content that people are sharing. Frankly, I keep losing track of what I want to read. So, I’ve decided to share with you links to a few of the articles and blog posts that have captured my attention. See below and enjoy.

The Social Determinants of Death” by Alan Weil, Health Affairs Blog, June 3, 2020.

Alan is the editor of Health Affairs and takes a very raw, skeptical, no holds barred look at racism, power, and the determinants of health. After reading this article you will never look at the social determinants of health in the same way. This is powerful. I hate the term “must-read” but this is a must-read. (Shout out to @MightyCasey for sharing a link to this article in her post “Social Determinants of Hope.”)

Social Determinants of Hope” by Casey Quinlan for the Patient Empowerment Network, June 10, 2020.

Interestingly, the author finds hope in Alan Weil’s piece on “The Social Determinants of Death.” She sees an awakening within the healthcare industry and seems to feel that there is hope that healthcare organizations will step up and take on systemic racism. “If health care institutions actually do step up, and use their power – the American health care sector, at $3.6 trillion a year, would be the fifth largest in the world based on GDP if it were a country – to end racism, we’ve got a chance to truly shift the human condition, in the US and around the world.” (Shout out to David Harlow @healthblawg for tweeting about this article.)

At the heart of our crisis: American polarization,” The Hill – Changing America, by Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation; Nat Kendall-Taylor, PhD, chief executive officer of the Frameworks Institute; Rachel Locke, MPH, senior program associate at the de Beaumont Foundation; Ruth J. Katz, JD, MPH, June 16, 2020.

In this article, the authors outline a productive path forward that will allow us to move beyond ideological tensions and rhetoric. Like most of us, they see a polarized world where it is very difficult to collectively develop solutions for the challenges our nation faces. Their desire is to build common ground upon which solutions can be built. “To survive this once-in-a-generation challenge, we need to hit pause on the polarizing rhetoric that divides us and frame the issues we’re facing in ways that allow for more open dialogue, productive engagement, and motivation to act.”

Logic vs. emotion in the COVID-19 era,” blog post by Alan Shoebridge, Director of marketing and communications, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.

In this post, Alan takes on one of the hot topics of the day: to mask or not to mask? He looks at the data that supports mask-wearing and the decision-making behind not wearing a mask. “Whether it’s encouraging people to wear a mask, being safe by practicing effective social distancing or ultimately getting vaccinated, we will need to appeal to emotions more strongly than we do to logical decision-making.” Definitely check out Alan’s post.

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