ATLANTA – State Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, recently introduced House Resolution 78, legislation that would declare racism a public health crisis in Georgia.
“Racism and health are tied together on many different fronts: where we live, go to school, the air we breathe, our income, wealth, health care and much more,” said Rep. Scott. “It is time for Black and brown people to stand up, speak out and demand better care in all areas of our life. Declaring racism a public health crisis is just the first step. We also need Georgia’s public health department and other state agencies to collect and analyze data on health outcomes by race, develop plans to tackle racial inequities and engage communities in developing solutions to the problem.”
House Resolution 78 includes various examples of how racism impacts public health in Georgia, including the higher rates of use of force by police particularly among Black and brown communities and that sustained exposure to racism increases stress hormones, such as cortisol, which impacts the overall health of those who experience racism. Additionally, HR 78 includes information on how racial health disparities have myriad causes, such as lack of health insurance, failures of the state’s medical system and inadequate access to health care. The resolution also highlights that the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians and the American Public Health Association have formally declared that racism is a public health issue.
Scott represents the citizens of District 76, which includes portions of Clayton and Henry counties. She was first elected to the House Representatives in 2010 and currently serves on the Defense & Veterans Affairs, Human Relations & Aging, Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment, Science and Technology and Special Rules committees.