Open Letter to Ohio Health Center Community
Friday, June 26, 2020
Posted by: OACHC
The Ohio Association of Community Health Centers (OACHC) shares in the nation’s grief and horror at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and most recently Rayshard Brooks, as well as those whose lives were wrongfully taken before them. The indifference to injustices facing African Americans and other people of color in American society is unacceptable.
None of us alone can solve all of our country’s problems, but we can work in areas where we have some influence. Last year, Ohio’s 56 community health centers served over 850,000 mostly low-income Ohioans at over 400 sites in 70 counties. Just two weeks ago, health centers provided COVID-19 testing to over 3,000 patients. But helping people and social justice are two different things.
We, who are involved in health care, have seen the information that mere access to health care is insufficient. Again and again, health outcomes for African-Americans whether it be in infant mortality, substance use treatment and now COVID-19 lags behind the outcomes of every other group. Health care is a profession that acknowledges racial and ethnic disparities. However, acknowledging disparities is simply not enough. We need to acknowledge the existence of institutional and structural racism and implicit bias in the delivery of health care to move forward.
Community Health Centers were created for and by the communities they serve. Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Now is the time to place a greater focus in creating an equitable and just future for the communities we serve across Ohio.