October 19, 2014

New Institutional Racism policy for Public Health Sector

Institutional racism is defined as an entrenched pattern of differential access to material resources and power determined by race, which advantages one subpopulation while disadvantaging another. In short it is a form of structural violence that is a key enabler of health inequities.

After a robust consultation process, this month the Public Health Association (a peak public health organisation) endorsed an institutional racism policy that had previously been ratified by the Health Promotion Forum (a peak health promotion organisation).  It would be great if it had been a Ministry of Health policy or one or all of the District Health Boards but it is a critical stepping stone. This policy sponsored by the PHA Special Interest Group on Institutional Racism will now be a lever to encourage public health/health promotion practitioners and organisations to consider what their contribution will be to ending racism in our sector. The endorsement of this policy puts anti-racism praxis back on the agenda, puts Te Tiriti o Waitangi back on the agenda.

Watch this space – may the public health sector have the courage to apply our values of social justice, equity, aroha and take collective action to transform public health policy making and funding practices.

View new institutional racism policy.

Heather Came

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