Research conducted by IHJE and its partners

Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Over 300 localities have started addressing racism and its impacts on health by acknowledging that racism is a public health crisis. Building on the first report, this report discusses the health impacts of racism, local governmental responses, and recommendations for responding to racism as a public health crisis.

Declaring racism as a public health crisis is an important first step. Doing so acknowledges that racism exists and that government has a duty to dismantle the system of racism, instead of leaving the burden on individual victims of racism to file lawsuits. This is a critical shift in how to see racism and craft solutions to address it. Yet a declaration, without more, is not enough.

Racial Equity Tools in Government

Until now, no one has cataloged jurisdictions working with racial equity tools created by national organizations. In this report, we begin filling this gap by identifying jurisdictions working with racial equity tools and discuss how they are addressing systemic racism and the social determinants of health in their communities.

Amid a growing national conversation on equity and social justice, city and county governments are using tools to identify racial and ethnic disparities in their communities. These insights can then inform the development and implementation of laws and policies designed to minimize disparities and maximize positive impacts on racial and ethnic minorities.


COVID-19 has revealed inequities for health care workers of color, especially direct care workers. Many of these direct care workers are not covered under COVID-19 economic relief bills and wage pass-through laws could help provide additional pay.