CommonSpirit Health Joins 38 Health Systems to Declare: Racism Is a Public Health Crisis

Chicago (Sept. 27, 2020) – CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit health system operating in 21 states, has signed on to the “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” statement in a commitment to take concrete action to address the impact of structural racism in our communities. The statement was published by the Healthcare Anchor Network, a national collaboration of leading health care systems.

Moved by the dramatic health disparities and systemic racism exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, CommonSpirit stands with these 38 health systems and all those who have lifted their voices in protest with a call to action.

For CommonSpirit, taking action to overcome these issues in the communities we serve includes hiring from, procuring from, and investing in our local communities. It also means tracking our progress in these efforts, and actively engaging and listening to patients and colleagues of color, modifying behaviors where needed, and learning from our experiences.

“Poverty, trauma and bias deeply affect the health of our communities,” said CommonSpirit Health CEO Lloyd Dean. “We are proud to join health systems across the country that are committed to dismantling systemic racism. As partners and advocates on the frontlines, we will promote equity for patients and our staff.”

“Racism is a public health crisis. In Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color we see higher rates of illness and death as a result of systemic racism. We need to harness our collective strength to invest in our communities and to more intentionally hire and buy from local BIPOC communities so that all people can be healthy and thrive,” said Healthcare Anchor Network Director David Zuckerman. “We all must better understand and act to change the impacts of systemic racism on social and economic conditions and health outcomes,” added Zuckerman.

Investment in Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color is critical to overcoming health disparities. Inside our hospitals, CommonSpirit also commits to implementing policy changes that promote equity and opportunity; improving primary and specialty care; helping our communities overcome chronic diseases; advocating for investments in improvements to health access, quality, and outcomes; promoting and retaining leaders of color; providing anti-racism and implicit bias training for staff and administrators; and advocating for funding for programming for social needs, social services, and social justice.

From the statement: “Our society only truly thrives when everyone has an opportunity to succeed and live a healthy life. We are committed to moving forward together. By harnessing the collective strengths of our organizations, we will help serve our communities as agents of change.”

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About CommonSpirit Health

CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. With a team of approximately 125,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 137 hospitals and more than 1000 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2020, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of nearly $29.6 billion and provided $4.6 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at www.commonspirit.org.

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