Statement from Healthfirst in Response to NYC Board of Health Declaration of Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Oct 22, 2021

The following statement can be attributed to
Pat Wang, President and Chief Executive Officer, Healthfirst

Healthfirst believes that the undeniable inequality in healthcare among certain populations has always existed, but the pandemic further exposed it, especially here in New York City. It is not right when people don’t have access to the same healthcare. It is not right when people are treated differently or get talked down to when they seek healthcare. It is our collective obligation to address the underlying causes that have led us to this point.

The New York City Board of Health’s resolution to declare racism a public health crisis is a vital step in the right direction. It is action-oriented and should encourage organizations and companies throughout our city to take responsibility, to collaborate, and to help drive the substantive and structural change required to address these disparities.

This is an opportunity that must be approached from every possible angle to achieve better health outcomes for all New Yorkers. The solution must include adapting a healthcare model that puts payers and providers on the same team, leveraging data to better identify care gaps, building strong connections to services and resources that proactively address social determinants of health, and actions by the state to adequately fund government health programs like Medicaid so that the public health crisis can be fully addressed.