American Heart Association taking new approach to health by ending structural racism

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Based on significant data, the AHA points to structural racism as a major cause of poor health

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(WYTV) – The American Heart Association is doing its part to end structural racism.

In a Presidential Health Advisory, the agency outlined the steps it’s taking to break down health barriers, especially cardiovascular risk factors.

Putting out an immediate call to action, the AHA is working to end structural racism.

“Structural racism is a system of laws, policies and societal practices the perpetuate inequity among races,” said AHA CEO Nancy Brown.

Based on significant data, the AHA points to structural racism as a major cause of poor health, including devastating and deadly health impacts.

“Higher rates of heart disease, stroke, obesity and high blood pressure, just to name a few,” Brown said.

“For example, Black Americans continue to experience the highest death rates due to heart disease and particularly stroke,” said AHA President Mitchell Elkind.

By 2024, the AHA is aiming to improve cardiovascular health for everyone, including breaking down whatever barriers to health access that may exist.

“Every person must have the same opportunity to live a full, healthy life,” Elkind said.

While the AHA knows they can’t dismantle this system alone, they want to work as a catalyst — leading by example, especially for heart health.

With this Presidential Health Advisory, the agency wants to address five key areas.

“It is crucial the American Heart Association tackle this obstacle to the well-being of all persons and all communities,” said Keith Churchwell, with the AHA.

“We must ensure that the burden of mitigating and impact of structural racism on social and health inequities is not limited to patients but instead examines the broader impact of discriminatory practices within our health care systems and the role of institutionalized racism and implicit biases on patients’ care and health outcomes,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, with the AHA.

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