We all want to live in a United States where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to reach their best health and wellbeing, no matter their race, ethnicity, or class. That can happen by making sure everyone gets quality healthcare from doctors who respect them. It can happen when families live in communities with well-funded schools and parks instead of polluted air and toxic waste dumps, and in neighborhoods with access to safe and affordable homes. We can build a society where people can move up economically and socially.
But this is not everyone’s reality today. There are laws and social practices that place more value on some lives than others, based on race and class. And that leads to fewer opportunities in jobs, education, lending, and housing, and unfair differences in the legal system. Our ZIP code shouldn’t dictate our health. Everyone should have the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible in the place they call home.
Since people created the laws and social practices that shape these opportunities, we can reinvent them. We can work together so that everyone’s children and grandchildren can have the best possible future, and everyone can achieve their best health and wellbeing.
To reach a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and wellbeing, we must identify, understand, confront, and remove the structural barriers to health and wellbeing, including racism, powerlessness, discrimination, and their consequences.
In connection with past and current Robert Wood Johnson Foundation programs aimed at reducing health inequities and advancing health equity, this collection includes research findings and perspectives on the connections between race, racism, and health.