As we’ve watched the public reaction to recent incidents of unfair treatment of people of color by police, we share the concern and outrage regarding abuse of basic human rights. From its founding, Zufall Health has maintained the core value of opposing and overcoming disparities based upon race, ethnicity, religion, language, income, country of origin, or other demographic factors. Correcting inequities in healthcare is a fundamental purpose of Zufall Health.
We believe that racism and prejudice is a public health crisis. People of color and other marginalized groups too often experience inequalities in our nation’s healthcare system that can lead to difficulty in accessing services, poor health outcomes and disparate rates of disease and mortality. Black and Hispanic residents are particularly impacted by these inequalities, as evidenced by recent COVID-19 pandemic mortality rates.
We also understand that unequal and unfair treatment in any area of our society can cause both individual trauma as well as collective trauma to communities of color. This kind of trauma can translate into significant health issues or exacerbate existing problems.
Zufall Health is unshakeable in our dedication to addressing health disparities by providing access to quality, affordable and culturally competent healthcare to people and communities who experience barriers to care. As a Community Health Center, we address health inequality in many ways, including:
- Our health centers are in high need areas and open to all regardless of ability to pay.
- We train our employees in Trauma Informed Care so that they can better understand, recognize and respond to all kinds of trauma in order to have patients feel physically, psychologically, and emotionally safe.
- We create linkages to non-health community providers that address social issues and support prevention and wellness.
- We foster relationships with and understanding of the communities we serve to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
- We have a richly diverse and bilingual staff reflecting the communities we serve.
- Our Board of Directors, a majority of whom are our patients, are representative members of the communities we serve and are passionate promoters of our mission.
Though we encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we understand the passion that has motivated people to gather to express their outrage and to find comfort in sharing these feelings with others. To support our patients and communities, Zufall Health commits to the following actions:
- Provide face masks to patients who need one to keep safe
- Offer COVID-19 testing at all six medical sites to anyone concerned about exposure to the virus, particularly to those who have participated in recent demonstrations
- Expand diversity training for Zufall staff
- Provide opportunities for Zufall staff to demonstrate solidarity with our patients and community members who are fighting for equal treatment in all aspects of our society
Zufall’s guiding vision is “creating equal opportunity for good health” and with that in mind, we join with our community to make that vision a reality.