Racism drives illness and early death, study finds

Racial bias in housing, education, employment, criminal justice and other domains condemn Black people in Rochester and the Finger Lakes to sicker and shorter lives, according to an extensive new report by Common Ground Health.

“Structural racism is literally stealing the breath from the Black Community,” said Wade Norwood, CEO of Common Ground, the region’s health research and planning organization. “It is behind the deplorably higher rates of COVID infections and mortality for Black people; behind higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and asthma; behind more Black mothers dying in childbirth and more Black men dying of violence, sometimes at the hands of those charged with protecting their lives.

“To improve health for Black residents, we need to address what happens in the classroom, on the way to school, on the job and in the home. Health equity strategy must focus beyond the four walls of the medical clinic,” Norwood said

The Color of Health: The Devastating Toll of Racism on Black Lives does just that. The report connects the dots between the 67% higher premature mortality rate for African Americans in Rochester and the Finger Lakes and the upstream social constraints Black residents are forced to navigate.

Marrying health data with insights from experts and lived experiences, the report documents how racism, whether deliberate or unintentional, undermines physical and mental wellbeing. It shows how biased practices limit access to well-paying jobs, safe neighborhoods, nutritious food and health care; how segregated neighborhoods and schools limit opportunities that are foundational to a child’s future wealth and health; and how chronic exposure to racism has a weathering effect on the mind and body.

Read more and download the full report

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Download the report at: commongroundhealth.org/ColorofHealth


Monroe County Office of Mental Health Offers Free SafeTALK Suicide Awareness Training 

SafeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. The training can help to prepare someone to begin recognizing thoughts of suicide in others, having a safe conversation about these thoughts, and connecting the individual to support to further assist them in remaining safe.  Click here for more details about the training.  Please contact Brianna Morabito briannamorabito@monroecounty.gov or Miranda DelVecchio  mirandadelvecchio@monroecounty.gov to schedule a time.


Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Monroe County

Thank you to David Putney, Director of Monroe County Office of Mental Health and Jason Teller, Substance Use Services Planning and Implementation Specialist for Monroe County Office of Mental Health for your presentation on 12/1 Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Monroe County. David and Jason provided an overview of the opioid crisis in our community, including what the County’s strategy includes to better address this community need.  They gave recommendations for what we can all do, as well as lists of resources. Resource links are provided below.


Hard Facts, Race and Poverty in the Nine County Greater Rochester Region

CCSI Rochester-based staff and the Board of Directors had the opportunity to participate in a presentation and thought-provoking discussion of the report “Hard Facts, Race and Poverty in the Nine County Greater Rochester Region” led by Ed Doherty, the principal author and researcher. This report is the 3rd in a series of reports released by ACT Rochester that speak to poverty in the region.

The findings in “Hard Facts” detail the harsh reality of the extent of poverty in Rochester (particularly eye-opening as compared to comparably sized cities) as well as the gaps between racial and ethnic groups on poverty-related, educational and other well-being indicators. Not only are there disparities between racial and ethnic groups in the Rochester area itself, but Rochester African American and Latino populations have less favorable rates on key indicators than African American and Latino populations in NYS as a whole and in the US.

Our discussion and questions were primarily – Why is this so? How did we get here? and What can we do to change this? We know there are no immediate solutions to this complex and pervasive issue in our community. But we all came away from the discussion with an awareness of these startling facts, the extent of disparities in our community, the urgency of the situation and some implications for our work moving forward. Many community efforts are now being focused on poverty, especially those under the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. Along with working in partnership with initiatives, now that we all have the “hard facts” on poverty AND disparities, we need to pay close attention in our programs and contracted services and work with others to using a cultural lens as we move towards solutions so as not to inadvertently perpetuate the disparities.  

Click here to access the Act Rochester reports: www.actrochester.org.

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