Equity Challenge: Week 19
In week 19 of our Challenge, we conclude our exploration of structural racism by examining the healthcare system – and how racism adversely impacts health and well-being.
Week 19: Health & Healthcare
Here are some questions to think about:

  • Did you learn something new or surprising? Were there views that differed from your own experience? How did that make you feel?

  • Do you think experiences with the healthcare system shared in this challenge are systemic issues or personal/isolated experiences? How do the data and studies included here inform your views on that?

  • Are there lessons, information or ideas from previous weeks that impact your understanding of today’s resources?

  •  Are there ideas or recommendations in any of today’s resources that help you better understand your own community? What can you do to learn more about health and healthcare in your community and how others feel and experience it?

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the fact that every person's health is intertwined with the health of others in their community, but it has also shed light on long-standing inequities. In Wisconsin, communities of color suffered a disproportionate impact from COVID-19. National data showed that people of color were more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.
A person’s social, economic, and physical environment shape their health more than any other factor, and these factors are directly tied to racism. Socioeconomic status and institutional racism lead to disparities across living conditions, limit access to quality health care, and contribute to chronic stress. These factors lead to shorter life spans and higher likelihood of adverse health outcomes for people living in poverty and people of color.
Today’s challenge provides data, as well as historical and personal accounts and experiences to explore how race and racism have shaped the health care system and impact health outcomes. Some sources also include actions and efforts underway to address disparities.
Week 19 Challenge
With the questions and definitions above in mind, do at least one of the following:
A Brief History of Racism in Healthcare (4-minute read)
From 19th-century beliefs to cruel experiments and today's COVID-19 rates, this article briefly explains how systemic racism has affected healthcare.
States are Calling Racism a Public Health Crisis. Here's What that Means (6-minute read)
This article summarizes how and why local and state governments are declaring racism a public health crisis, and what those declarations do and don’t entail.
With Wisconsin Disparities in Mind, Researchers and Advocates Reimagine Health Care for Black Mothers (6-minute read)
This article, published during national Black Maternal Health Week, highlights how Wisconsin researchers and advocates are shedding light on the crisis of Black maternal and infant mortality. It discusses the how they are returning to solutions that have historically been a part of the birthing process in the Black community.
How Racism Makes Us Sick (17:27)
Why does race matter so profoundly for health? David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. Dr. Williams presents evidence for how racism is producing a rigged system -- and offers hopeful examples of programs across the U.S. that are working to dismantle discrimination. (Subtítulos en español disponibles.)
Native Americans Feel Invisible in U.S. Health Care System (3:12)
About a quarter of Native Americans report experiencing discrimination in health care, according to a poll by NPR. Listen to Native Americans share about their experience with health care in this brief radio interview.
Health Equity Advocate on Black Doctor's Video of Her Treatment for COVID-19 (4:42)
NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with health equity advocate Joia Crear-Perry about a video in which the late Dr. Susan Moore said her treatment for COVID-19 suffered because she was Black.

Share your reflections or additional resources about today’s topic on social media using #EquityChallenge - or send us a note at unitedway@unitedwayracine.org
Learn more about the Challenge and review weekly topics by visiting
Local Resources
A weekly book discussion group reading books on race and racism.

A yearlong, faith-based series of interactive and multidimensional public events. The series goal is to increase our understanding of how we think and feel about racism, resulting in actions that can help to transform us as individuals and the systems of racism in our country. 

The YWCA of SEW Wisconsin offers a variety of trainings about different facets of equity, such as structural racism, cultural differences, social transformation and more.

Higher Expectations engages community partners, aligns efforts, and maximizes resources to promote excellence and equity in education and employment outcomes in Racine County.
Hear from Deanna Singh, Founder/Chief Change Agent of Flying Elephant and her husband Justin on how to talk to your children about race to help children develop a healthy understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Health Equity Leadership Institute Virtual Series

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is hosting a virtual health equity series. Register here.
Sessions will take place between May and August. For more information, visit the website.

Virtual Panelist Q&A via Zoom with Barb Farrar, Executive Director at The LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin and guest panelists.

Wednesday, June 16 at 6 p.m.
Make your commitment to inclusion—the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity—official by signing our Declaration of Inclusion Pledge. This pledge is to respect and appreciate all aspects of any person, including race, religion, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, age, parental status, work and behavioral styles, and the perspectives of each individual as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences. You will also receive our quarterly diversity newsletter to build your "equity muscle."