Every year on April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World Health Day – a day to create awareness about a global health issue that needs attention.
Some of the past areas of focus on World Health Day have been mental health, maternal and child care and even climate change. However, the important focus this year is “building a fairer, healthier world for everyone.”
Bon Secours is committed to building a healthier, more equitable world. This is why we recently joined the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) and 22 of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems in a new initiative to confront racism by achieving health equity.
Not only is racism completely against the core values of Catholic social teaching, it also significantly impacts health equity. Joining this movement was done in solidarity to promote the common good and seek justice.
We plan to be actively anti-racist as well as accountable in effecting positive change in the communities we serve and through the initiative’s four areas of focus:
- Enact change across our own health systems: Members are examining how organizations recruit, hire, promote and retain employees; how they conduct business operations, including visible diversity and inclusivity at the decision, leadership and governance levels; and how they incentivize and hold our leaders accountable.
- Act for COVID-19 equity: Members of the pledge commit to ensuring that testing for COVID-19 is available and accessible in minority communities and that new treatments are distributed and used equitably as they become available. Members will also work for prioritization of vaccinations for those individuals and families at higher risk — elder populations and communities of color, including Native American communities.
- Strengthen trust with minority communities: Members will continue to foster, strengthen and sustain authentic relationships based on mutually agreed goals to better understand the unique needs of their communities.
- Advocate for improved health outcomes for minority communities and populations: Members agree to promote and improve the delivery of culturally competent care and oppose policies that exacerbate or perpetuate economic and social inequities, including such issues as education, housing and criminal justice reform.
Bon Secours Mercy Health President and CEO John Starcher shares the following about our ministry’s commitment to this initiative, “At Bon Secours Mercy Health, we are committed to extending the compassionate ministry of Jesus and bringing good help to those in need, especially those who are poor, dying and underserved. It is imperative that together, we address health disparities, especially in underserved communities. Providing greater access to high-quality health care regardless of race, economic status or other social factors is core to our mission. The time for health equity is now, and we stand with CHA in its work to care for others as Jesus would.”
We recognize our unique position to help bring overdue change to policies and practices that have allowed systemic racism and health disparities to continue in the United States. We are fully committed to “building a fairer, healthier world for everyone” by combatting health inequities across the communities we serve this World Health Day and every day.