Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis

UConn joins the state of Connecticut in declaring racism a public health crisis

An aerial view of the Wilbur Cross Building.

(Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

To the UConn Community:

We at UConn applaud and agree with the state’s declaration of racism as a public health crisis in Public Act 21-35. We are glad that our Undergraduate Student Government asked that we follow the state in declaring racism a public health crisis and we are happy to do so. We will continue to evaluate and strive to improve the recruitment and retention of people of color throughout the university, including in our health care preparation programs, as required by the law, and UConn John Dempsey hospital will continue to include implicit bias training for staff members who provide direct care to women who are pregnant or in the postpartum period.

In addition, in Storrs we have created a Director of Health Equity & Access to Care within Student Health and Wellness (SHaW). This is a senior member of the team whose role is to advise all areas (Mental Health, Medical, and Health Promotion) on adopting practices focused on equity and inclusion.

We have also created a task force to review the model of care on our regional campuses and make recommendations on how we can enhance access to services for students on our regional campuses.

There are countless examples among our faculty in their commitment to this work and educating the next generation of leaders on how to address these critical issues. A few highlights include our Anti-Black Racism course, which includes a module on health inequities; our Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health, led by Professor and Director Wizdom Powell; and the involvement of a number of faculty across our campuses working closely with the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance, which was a driving force in advocating for the state’s declaration.

Warm regards,