In 2019, MetroHealth’s CEO Dr. Akram Boutros addressed the City Club of Cleveland about racism as a public health crisis. He specifically mentioned infant mortality, and how African American babies in Cuyahoga County are dying at a rate that’s four times greater than white babies.
“When we speak of this as an infant mortality problem and ignore race, we cloud the issue. And if there’s one thing we know about African American infant mortality is that it is due in part to structural racism,” Boutros said.
He went on to explain that structural racism refers to the ways in which societies foster racial discrimination through mutually reinforcing systems of housing, education, employment, earnings, benefits, credit, media, health care and criminal justice.
“How can we solve a problem we’re not being perfectly clear about while ignoring one of its root causes?” he asked.