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The data are clear: Racism harms health

New website compiles research on racism’s harms across the spectrum of American life

Image credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Tommy and Codie Oliver

Public health researchers and practitioners have long known that racism harms health. Indeed, hundreds of cities, counties and states have declared racism a public health crisis.

Our just-launched website, Racism Harms Health, compiles research data culled from more than 250 studies across the spectrum of American life—from workplaces and policing to education and housing—showing exactly how racism harms health.

It makes the evidence clear and easily accessible to public health practitioners, policymakers, students, researchers, and anyone interested in an equitable, healthy society.

Racism Harms Health aggregates findings from our own Berkeley Public Health faculty and researchers along with research from many other researchers across the country.

The goal of the site was to create an easily accessible, comprehensive resource for professionals, policymakers, and community members—along with students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Berkeley Public Health—written in plain language, based on squeaky clean research, that described both problems and solutions. The site brings together the health data about racism so our actions can reflect what the research is telling us.

The project is part of Berkeley Public Healths’ Anti-Racist Community for Justice and Social Transformative Change (ARC 4 JSTC) initiative, launched in 2020 to recognize our moral, ethical, and professional obligation to address racism based on what we see in the public health data. A team of students, faculty, and staff at Berkeley Public Health worked for two years to compile and cite the data that informs the site.

The site explains the research on how racism creates racial health inequities across wide range of topics, including:

Future sections will explain research on how racism affects our food system, educational system, and healthcare system.

Robust research has made it clear that racism harms health. We hope this distillation helps us deepen our understanding and fuel our resolve to make health and racial inequities a thing of the past.