Racism as a Public Health Issue in Olmsted County

Olmsted County Commissioners accept report from the joint study of racism as a public health...
Olmsted County Commissioners accept report from the joint study of racism as a public health issue(MGN)
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 8:38 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Racism is a widespread public health issue in our country, and the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners wants to make positive change.

The board today has accepted a final report from a two-year joint study of race and racism in the county. According to those involved in the study, the report will act as a roadmap to correct historic injustices and lead the way in building a more inclusive and welcoming community.

One example: In Olmsted County, Black residents account for approximately 7% of the total population; however, Black individuals accounted for approximately 35% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Olmsted County is not unique in passing a resolution such as this. According to the American Public Health Association, as of August 2022, 256 entities across the United States have declared racism as a public health issue. In Minnesota, the Minnesota House of Representatives, Olmsted and Hennepin counties, and the cities of Bloomington, Red Wing, and Minneapolis have passed declarations.

Although not unique in passing a resolution, Olmsted County is novel in the approach it has taken with the ‘Joint Study’ by having community members lead the development of organizational recommendations.

County commissioners say they want to ensure all residents have a path that will allow them to reach their full potential... and addressing how racism affects public health is a big step.

The full report can be read here.