The mental harm of racism

Racism is a health problem “that takes a toll on people of color and contributes to the development of other chronic diseases,” according to doctors studying health inequities.

“Sustained exposure to racism in all of its forms increases our stress hormones, such as cortisol which causes havoc on our physical bodies and, while we know no race is a construct, a social construct, and has no biological and genetic basis, racism can actually literally change the patterns of how genes are expressed,” says Dr. Aletha Maybank, chief equity officer and vice president of the American Medical Association.

Social disparities, including lower incomes, crowded housing and lack of medical insurance, are all contributing factors in the higher number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in minority communities.

Other experts like Dr. Rupa Marya, as associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, added that police brutality should also be considered a medical issue. “I feel like it is time to recognize and to call upon all of our institutions of medicine to denounce police violence as a public health threat,” she said.

Source: CNN Health

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