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National Institute of Health Establishes UNITE Initiative to Combat Structural Racism



The National Institute of Health (NIH) has announced a new initiative to address structural racism – the UNITE Initiative. “With representation from across the NIH Institutes and Centers, UNITE aims to establish an equitable and civil culture within the biomedical research enterprise and reduce barriers to racial equity in the biomedical research workforce,” according to the NIH website. NIH hopes that this initiative will help address racism and discrimination that has impacted healthcare throughout history. “Historical racism has led to the marginalization and oppression of Indigenous peoples, African Americans, Latinos, and other communities of color. … Structural racism has resulted in persistent health disparities, poor health status, and premature mortality as ...

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Two States Move Closer to Adopting Sugary Drink Taxes



Sugary drinks can have a detrimental impact on people of all ages, which is why civic and health leaders across the US are working to curb consumption. How are they doing this? One of the main ways is through increasing taxes on soda, fruit juice, and other sugary drinks. These measures boost the price of sugary drinks to reduce consumption and create revenue for community health programs. Two states—Washington and Rhode Island—have just proposed sugary drink taxes in hopes of improving public health, according to Dr. Amy Nunn, the executive director of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute (RIPHI). “This important legislation will help alleviate hunger and promote healthy eating across Rhode Island,” Nunn told Rhode Island FOX affiliate WPRI12. “We are committed ...

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Farmers Market Coalition Building an Anti-Racist Toolkit



Farmers markets are thought to be great options for communities to support local farmers and buy healthy, organic food. But what role do farmers markets have in addressing food justice and racial inequity? Farmers markets should take an active role in addressing structures and policies that perpetuate inequities and discrimination, according to the Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting farmers markets and providing income opportunities for farmers. That’s why Farmers Market Coalition is creating an anti-racist toolkit. What the Anti-Racist Toolkit Has to Offer As they prepare the anti-racist toolkit for a fall 2021 launch, the Farmers Market Coalition is teaming up with Sagdrina Jalal, senior director of partnerships and programs at the Center for ...

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Oakland Students Gain Greater Access to Clean Water with Filling Stations


Oakland Water Filling Stations

In Oakland and other California cities, education leaders have launched a new initiative to provide students with clean water through water bottle filling stations in schools. These filling stations aim to provide not only filtered drinking water to students, they also combat unnecessary plastic waste. In the era of Climate Change, these kinds of programs can often be the first step in making wide-sweeping changes in communities. Water bottle filling stations can make a big impact on student health and academics, according to water bottle filling station group, FloWater. “Well-hydrated students have a better chance of performing better in school due to increased focus, improved energy, and added health benefits for the body,” the group writes. “A more sanitary place to fill ...

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More Multifamily Dwellings in California Go Smoke-Free


California Smoke-Free Multifamily

More and more Californians are working toward a tobaccoless future. In the city of Crescent City, Calif., residents will no longer be able to smoke in multi-unit housing. A new ordinance, recently passed by the City Council, aims to reduce the harmful toxins non-smokers face when facing secondhand smoke inside their apartments or condos. The city joins a list of over 60 other California cities with similar policies. Secondhand smoke is linked to cancer and heart disease. There is even data to suggest that some forms of exposure are more harmful than other, such as sidestream exposure — a mix of mainstream smoke, the smoke exhaled out by a smoker, and sidestream smoke from the burning tobacco product. “[Sidestream] smoke has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents ...

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In New Class Oaths, Medical Students Commit to Fight Racial Injustices


University of Houston College of Medicine Class of 2024 student reciting their oath. Source: University of Houston

In medical schools across the country, students in medical, nursing, and physician assistant programs participate in a ritual known as the white coat ceremony. This signifies the beginning of their journeys to achieve the long white lab coat, a well-recognized symbol of respect and professionalism. During the ceremony, students receive a short white lab coat and recite a class oath or pledge, acknowledging their obligation to compassion and scientific excellence as health care providers. Incoming students often write their own class oaths. This year, amid a civil rights movement protesting police brutality and global health pandemic, students at two medical schools stand out for writing class oaths that acknowledge racism’s impact on public health. These new oaths call for ...

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New Equity in Education Initiative Seeks to Build Opportunities for Black and Latino Students



North Carolina A&T State University and Walmart have partnered together to launch the Equity in Education Initiative, a new program focused on giving educational opportunities to Black and Latino students. The program, launching in early 2021, will support undergraduate students of color and provide resources in disciplines such as business and engineering, which are often predominately white. Walmart partnered with North Carolina A&T State, the largest historically Black university, to work on eliminating the traditional barriers to career opportunities. “The Equity in Education Initiative is not only an important step in advancing Walmart’s focus on eliminating barriers to opportunity, it also lays foundational building blocks with a diverse pool of talent who we ...

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