As we came to grips with the reality of COVID-19, another major public health issue – as deadly as a virus – came into focus across our nation in a dramatic and vivid way. The issue is long-standing and pervasive and affects the health of many generations: Chronic racism and its inequities.

As public health educators, students and colleagues, we know that racial inequity is both a public health and human rights issue that affects the overall social and economic condition of many communities of color. Racial inequity also affects the physical and mental health of these communities.  We continue to experience its result: fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and trauma infused by massive protests, civil unrest and calls for systemic change.

It is the mission of the Institute for Public Health to amplify such complex public health issues and improve community health. We know there are no simple solutions; however, we commit to stand and work together with our students, faculty and community partners to listen, engage and turn ideas into action. We will be a catalyst for policy change and innovative solutions that help eliminate disparities and achieve racial equity. Consistent with our mission, we will continue our convening role facilitating partnerships that turn ideas into action. We have an ethical and professional responsibility to address the public health issue of racism in order to improve health equity for everyone.

The Institute for Public Health dedicates this page to issues of racial equity and justice. We will post news, blog posts and photos exemplifying our charge—to be a connector, convener and catalyst to improve community and global health and address complex public health challenges that impact our community.

Racial Equity: A Definition

Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them. Source: Center for Assessment and Policy Development

COVID-19 and Racial Equity

Find conversations on COVID-19 and its impact on communities of color in this new resource from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

A new AMA report investigates reasons behind inequities, and finds the impact of COVID-19 on the Latinx community is likely underestimated.

Given the impact of COVID-19, how do we stay safe during protests? Institute Faculty Scholar Hilary Babcock, MD, spoke with St. Louis Magazine.

New research on the influence of COVID-19 among St. Louis communities finds that the region’s African American and Black residents have been especially hard hit by the crisis. Read the report.

Police Reform/Social Justice

Watch the WUSTL webinar,  “Transformative Justice: Opportunities for Advancing Racial Equity

The Demographics of Racial Inequality in the United States

What strategies are states outside of Missouri initiating to address disparities? Read this editorial from Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery, PA)

Updated information on police reform from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis has added a Social Justice Resources Page to “advance change, while being mindful to protect public health”.

This piece, published by CNN online, concerns the disproportionate number of people shot, killed or imprisoned by police in the U.S. compared with other developed countries.

Statements on Racial Equity

The Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration issued this statement concerning racism as a human rights crisis.

Racial Equity in the News

BIPOC: What Does it Mean?

Many newsrooms are now capitalizing the B in Black. Here are some of the people who made that happen.

WUSTL Sociology: We Built a Diverse Academic Department in 5 Years. Here’s How.

Health Disparities Between White And Black St. Louisans Have Worsened, Analysis Shows

Read this interesting perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding a call to action to the nation’s healthcare systems.

Local health officials including WUSTL Associate Dean of Diversity, Will Ross, say racism is a “public health crisis.”

Blog Series

Read our blog series featuring faculty, staff & student perspectives on racial equity.


The health effects of racism are usually less obvious than murder. Listen to this podcast episode from The Atlantic featuring Sherman James, PhD, a WashU alumnus and professor emeritus at Duke University.

Moving Anti-racism in Implementation Science from the Margins to the Center (video)

Learn to define racism and anti-racism and how an anti-racism approach can refine implementation science’s contributions to health equity research from Derek Griffith, PhD, in this presentation he gave as part of our Center for Dissemination & Implementation’s 2021 Proposal Development Bootcamp. View on Vimeo.