NEVADA (KTNV) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak formally proclaimed racism as a public health crisis in the state on Wednesday.
Given Nevada's diverse population, this call to action raises awareness, so Nevada does not sustain poor health outcomes due to systemic racism during and after the pandemic, according to the governor's office.
"Institutional and systemic racism has gone on far too long in this country and this state. Based on research, we are taking a proactive approach in joining fellow leaders around the country to declare racism as a public health crisis," Gov. Sisolak said. "I am grateful to be joined by the Nevada Legislature in recognizing that racism manifests in measurable ways, including in public health. I look forward to working with Nevada leaders and the Office of Minority Health and Equity on this critical issue."
Experts and studies have shown that negative social determinants have adversely impacted the health of minority communities, with racism being at the forefront. The governor's office says this has also been demonstrated in many forms, including inequitable access to mental health services and a lack of educational and career opportunities, among many others.
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges caused by racial disparities within Nevada's communities, especially in the form of the virus and environmental exposure risks, and through all significant stages of health care, according to the governor's office.
Nevada joins other state and local governments that have passed or are considering similar declarations to raise awareness and to instigate long-term change across all sectors of government, including education, housing, and criminal justice.
The proclamation also enhances work already being made by the state's Office of Minority Health and Equity, which was initially created by the Nevada Legislature in 2005 and expanded in 2017.
The OMH engages communities statewide to promote health equity and combat health disparities through advocacy and education, according to the governor's office.
Today, I issued a proclamation to name racism as a public health crisis. Given our diverse population as a minority, majority state, this call to action raises awareness so Nevada does not perpetuate poor health outcomes due to systemic racism during & after the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/vKSoU2knqR
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) August 6, 2020