June 3, 2020
The staff at Student Health Services stand with our colleagues in support of both furthering the dialogue and taking action to reduce prejudice and discrimination.
In addition to personal experiences, we hear from students in medical and mental health appointments at Student Health Services about injustices they face. More broadly, we are aware of the impact of discrimination on people’s physical and mental health. While discrimination is a moral, legal, and economic issue, and must be fought in those areas, it is also a public health issue. This is all too apparent with the COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate impact on minority populations, including in our own county.
Research has also shown specifically that individuals who have faced more discrimination also have a greater risk of cancer, hypertension, higher infant death rates, and depression, to name just a few. While this research is correlational, there are causal factors including those from the physical and social environment.
While recent horrendous videos have led to this discussion, we would also like to inject into the dialogue the ways that structural and systemic inequalities (brought on by prejudice and discrimination) lead to a particularly insidious situation where blacks and other under-served groups face worsened health outcomes, including unfortunately a very large number of health-related deaths.
At Student Health Services in recent years, we have worked to foster liaison relationships with college and community organizations who work with under-served populations. We also strive for our services to be inclusive and inviting, providing equitable access, information, and treatment (which resumes for individual remote appointments on June 15.) Given gross environmental discrepancies, though, we know that we need to do even more and continue to look for ways to reduce inequities that lead to health and other disparities. At this time of heightened awareness for all, we stand with our SRJC colleagues and pledge to further this work.
Sent out on behalf of the entire Student Health Services Staff: