Racism, inequity, health and well-being: an urgent call for a European stance

Activity: Lecture / PresentationInvited talkAcademic


Ghent University; University of Amsterdam; Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht; Belgian Lung and Tuberculosis Association

Co-chairs: Dr Wouter Arrazola de Oñate, Belgian Lung and Tuberculosis Association, Dr Joyce Browne, UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands

Speakers: Dr Niloufar Ashtiani, CREDOCOR; Prof Charles Agyemang, UMC Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Prof Delan Devankumar, University College London, UK, Dr Alana Helberg-Proctor, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Dr Ama Kissi, Ghent University, Belgium, Abigail Norville, deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Health, the Netherlands

Several major public health institutions declared racism and discrimination a major threat to public health, in response to the vast and growing body of evidence indicating the deleterious health consequences of racism. These institutions include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the American Public Health Association, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine.

The Lancet Series ‘Racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and the determination of health’ was published in December 2022 and proposed an excellent conceptual framework of how racism affects health. The current O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination and Global Health, will further accelerate our understanding through research and translation of these findings into practice and policy.

Remarkably, research (reviewed by the above) about the impact of racism on health has been primarily conducted in the US (+/-80%) - with a small portion from UK / Australia / Canada / New-Zeeland (+/-10%) and the remaining +/-10% from the rest of the world, including Europe.

This session aims to address the evidence gap on the physical and mental health consequences of racism within the European context. Contextualized evidence generation is important to inform national and European public health and clinical practice and policies. This panel discussion will build onto the work of the O’Neill-Lancet Commission and continue and expand this to focus on the European context.

The session’s objectives are to:

Introduce the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health
Delineate the state of the art on research on racism and health within the European context
Discuss how racial discrimination may negatively impact people’s health through both healthcare and wider societal context
Provide insights into the importance of research on the mechanisms of racism and how this could translate into interventions aimed at eradicating racism within healthcare
Share patients’ and healthcare providers’ (e.g., medical doctors and clinical psychologists) perspectives, expert opinions and lived experiences
Discuss the complexities and unintended consequences of attending to concepts such as ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ in health research and healthcare. In doing so, we will focus on the conceptualization and application of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ as social vs biological constructs, and how they should be applied in inclusive healthcare
This session will appeal to a broad, global audience of scientists, clinicians, and policy-makers, exemplifying the emerging notion that global health concerns health equity everywhere.

It is our hope that insights deriving from our panel discussion may not only inspire, but also motivate these agents to put anti-racism high on their agenda and invest in diversity-sensitive care, research, and policy.
Period22 Nov 2023
Event titleECTMIH
Event typeConference
LocationUtrecht, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational