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Health & Science
Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

Wheeling Declares Racism A Public Health Crisis

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Brandon W. Holmes

Officials in a northern West Virginia city have unanimously approved a resolution declaring racism a health crisis.

Social justice movements across the nation helped spark Tuesday's vote by the Wheeling City Council, which appears to be among the first in the state.

The resolution highlights public health authorities like the American Public Health Association and the American Medical Association which have recognized that racism is an urgent threat to public health in the U.S.

The effort was spearheaded by newly elected councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum.

“Ultimately the goal is three-fold," Ketchum said, "to build trust among our communities of color and our city government, to identify where and how we can make city leadership diverse, representative and inclusive as possible, and finally to formally acknowledge the systemic and far reaching impacts racism has on all of our lives.”

The resolution outlines steps the city plans to take to address systemic racism, including reviewing all City policies and procedures to identify any racial bias, requiring implicit bias training for all employees, and developing partnerships to confront racism in the community.

The document directs the city manager to review policies and remove any racial bias, require municipal employees to complete implicit bias training and work toward building a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

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