Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/(June 19, 2020) – Recent exposure of police brutality against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPoC) has reinforced the profound effects of racism against Black and Indigenous people. Recognition of this issue has sparked a movement demanding change and has furthered the conversation around racism, specifically anti-Black racism. Racism is a public health issue, and this moment in history has provided us with an opportunity to reflect and consider how we at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) can improve the way we respond to issues of racial inequity in our communities.
“The ability for members of our communities to live healthy lives is influenced by factors beyond their control. Most of these factors are described as the social determinants of health, and race is a social determinant of health that amplifies all others,” says Dr. Alexa Caturay, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “For example, racism can impact an individual’s ability to obtain housing, education or health services.”
At HPEPH, this is an opportunity to reflect on how we can improve equity, while honouring our core values of respect and advocacy. We have taken several preliminary steps to address racism in our communities but recognize that this is not enough. Moving forward, we plan to:
- Develop an internal anti-racism working group which will include members of the organization from various levels and departments to review internal policies and practices.
- Launch a web page to improve awareness of the impacts of the social determinants of health related to race. This resource will provide residents of our communities with an opportunity to learn more about these important issues.
- Provide education to our own staff to reject racism, and direct them to appropriate public health related resources for use in their practice.
- Strive to collect race-based data in order to better identify and understand health inequities related to race.
For more information about how HPEPH is currently working to identify and reduce inequities in our communities, please review the Facing Racial Inequities fact sheet. By reducing inequities, we can improve the opportunity for everyone in our communities to have a healthy life. We invite you to think about how your health has been influenced by your life experiences, including racism. If you have ideas about how we can help better serve our community through anti-racist practices, please contact the HPEPH Social Determinants of Health Public Health Nurse. More formal engagement activities will follow.
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
613-966-5500 x 464 or 613-848-2398
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.