(January 25, 2023) During the American Public Health Association (APHA) 150th anniversary conference on November 8, 2022, a new Community Health Worker (CHW) policy addressing equity and violence prevention was passed. Policy Number 20227: A Strategy to Address Racism and Violence as Public Health Priorities: Community Health Workers Advancing Equity & Violence Prevention, led by CHWs using a participatory process and supported by 30+ CHWs leaders/allies across the country. More than half of the authors and co-authors identify as CHWs.
Structural Racism as Public Health Crisis: Impact on the Black Community was declared as an APHA policy on October 24, 2020 (led by the Maternal Child Health Section). Since 2020, over 257 cities, counties, and other governmental leaders have echoed the sentiment, declaring racism a public health crisis, and proposing continued study on the connections between racism and health, along with increased investment and action plans for disproportionately affected communities. On November 13, 2018, Violence as a Public Health Issue: Public Health is Essential to Understanding and Treating Violence in the U.S. was approved as a policy by APHA. Violence in all forms, be it the home such as domestic violence, in the community as gang violence, and nationally in the form of mass shootings, is associated with death and severe physical and mental health outcomes. The APHA CHW Section Policy Committee identified a policy gap and opportunity: CHWs can help professionals comprehensively address racism and violence as public health priorities for Historically Oppressed and Other Peoples Experiencing Inequities (HOPIE).