Hospitals in Philly area team up to combat racism, racial disparities in health care

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Thirteen hospital systems here in the Philadelphia region are teaming up to take on racism and end health care disparities for people of color.

This coordinated effort began with a written declaration that racism is a public health crisis.

Jack Lynch, the president and CEO of Main Line Health put together a list of eight goals. They include building trust through community partnerships and addressing chronic conditions that impact people of color.

The goals also include hiring and promoting leaders of color.

Einstein, Jefferson, Temple Health, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and other health care systems have committed to implementing the anti-racism initiatives.

"I've had an awakening," said Lynch. "I've been committed to this work for a long time, but the fact that at 60 years old this is the first time I've been willing to say we have racism in our hospital. I've said for years we have disparities for care. And I know the people that come in that don't look like me sometimes don't get treated the way I get treated, not because I am the CEO, but because I am a white male."

Lynch said COVID-19 was really a wake-up call for the health care industry, seeing that people of color were so disproportionately impacted by the virus.

He knows this won't be a change that happens overnight, but hopes it is a starting point for ending racial injustice in health care.
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