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Voices - Race equality action will go beyond the workplace, writes Yvonne Coghill

In a recent blog for #blacklivesmatter, senior research associate at the United States Institute for Healthcare Improvement Amy Reid and medical director at The Joint Commission Ron Wyatt discussed the impact of racism on health.

They cited a framework for understanding racism, developed over a decade ago by American Public Health Association president Camara Phyllis Jones. First there is institutional racism, which promotes differential access to goods and services. Then there is personally mediated racism, which manifests as prejudice and discrimination. This can result in an increased incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes among those who experience it.

Finally, as a direct result of years of racism, people can develop an acceptance of the negative messages about their own worth, which can lead to self-devaluation, resignation, helplessness and hopelessness.

Reid and Wyatt believe that race has an impact on health that goes beyond income and education, and that understanding race as a primary driver of inequity is essential. I couldn’t agree more, and that is why it is vital that those working in the NHS embrace the Workforce Race Equality Standard. Introduced on April 1. This important development enables us to acknowledge racism and ensure that everyone is treated equally in the NHS.

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