Structural Racism and Health Inequities

A diverse group of MPC scholars is actively pursuing innovative research to address structural racism—the totality of ways in which societies foster racial discrimination through mutually reinforcing systems of housing, education, employment, earnings, benefits, credit, media, health care, and criminal justice—as a fundamental cause of health inequities. Together these researchers are poised to establish MPC as a visible and transformative leader in this field. Efforts aimed at eliminating racial health inequalities have begun to focus on macro-level conditions and societal contexts. This shift in perspective towards identifying how racism permeates the very structure of our society—reinforcing discriminatory beliefs, values, and the distribution of resources across history and interconnected institutions—is critical to preventing the harms associated with racism. This perspective marks an important change in public health framing, from one that incorrectly names race—a seemingly immutable characteristic—as a “risk factor” to one that identifies racism as a fundamental cause of health inequities. PRA Leaders: Theresa Osypuk and Rachel Hardeman