Institutionalized and systemic racism is real. It is pervasive. It haunts us as a nation. As we watch the unimaginable –black men dying at the hands of law enforcement, black women being shot in their homes after police storm in — we must acknowledge the far reaches the disease of racism touches.

In our work, we see how pervasive and systemic racism impacts health. Diseases that impact communities of color do not get a fair amount of research money allocated. People living in areas of poverty do not get access to enough health care providers. People without adequate health insurance do not get access to the newest treatments, while those with generous health insurance do. And communities of color, who stepped up to serve our aging and ill family members during a global pandemic, contract and die from an insidious virus at higher rates than the average American.

Many of our neighbors are not protected from devastating health outcomes or financial ruin when our system is predicated on privilege, and when access to power is the means by which one gets new treatments developed and generous health insurance coverage of those new innovations.

We acknowledge we are part of that system, and we need to witness more, care more, act more. We hear the clarion call ringing out — to be part of the change needed to ensure that race is no longer a determining factor in life expectancy, that medical research dollars flow to combat conditions that impact communities of color, and that we achieve health equity by addressing the negative impact of social determinants of health.

ICER pledges to be part of this change.