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County of Summit ADM Board of Directors declares racism a public health crisis

Posted by ADM Board Thursday, July 2, 2020 10:09:00 AM

At the June Board of Directors meeting of the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, the membership approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. As part of the resolution, the agency pledges $100,000 to support activities designed to increase knowledge and promote understanding of the effects of systemic racism on mental health while improving community access to culturally relevant services. Click here to read the resolution. 

“I applaud the ADM Board of Directors for declaring racism a public health crisis and providing $100,000 toward eradicating systemic racism and institutional bias. Systemic racism has negatively targeted minorities in most areas of life, especially economics, education, and health care. Our aim is to eradicate institutional biases and barriers impacting the ability of minorities to access health care, especially for mental health and addiction services,” commented John Williams, chair of the County of Summit ADM Board of Directors. This new funding will be distributed in consultation with community stakeholders and will also be available to organizations outside of the ADM Board’s provider system. “Collaboratively, we must stop racism from sapping the strength of our communities and begin restoring human capital to its full strength,” Williams said.

“Institutional racism has had a negative impact on social determinants of health for generations. The recent events in our country have given us renewed vigor in addressing the disparities in our community, and I am thankful for our Board’s commitment to addressing this problem head on,” said Jerry Craig, executive director of the ADM Board. Social determinants of health include conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes, risks and opportunities.

“Systemic racism in all forms negatively impacts the mental health of our diverse communities.  The effects can be seen in rising levels of stress and anxiety resulting in increased infant mortality, substance use and suicides.  It is important to review and appropriately revise policies and practices.  We must listen to those affected to fully understand and use our collective voices. Our goal is to improve the health and safety of our community and create a better future for everyone,” added Craig.

The County of Summit ADM Board is responsible for planning, funding, monitoring and evaluating treatment, prevention and support services for people who experience alcoholism, substance use and mental health disorders across the lifespan. The system serves more than 26,000 people per year and thousands more through prevention education throughout Summit County.

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