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Drexel Research on Structural Racism and Public Health Highlighted

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January 30, 2023

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) published a special issue on “Structural Racism and Public Health“ on January 25, 2023, which includes research led and co-authored by multiple faculty members at Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health.

This special issue of AJPH focuses on naming the mechanisms through which structural racism manifests and calling attention to laws, policies, and practices that need changing.

The articles provide research and analysis of topics such as police brutality, drug policy, redlining, social determinants of health, immigrant mental health, and more. The issue also highlights frameworks for future researchers to examine structural racism with an intersectional lens.

Below is the Dornsife research that was featured in the issue:

“Neighborhood Proactive Policing and Racial Inequities in Preterm Birth in New Orleans, 2018‒2019”

Jackie Jahn headshot

Jaquelyn Jahn, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity, led this research.

This research measured neighborhood exposure to proactive policing as a manifestation of structural racism and its association with preterm birth.

Authors found that high levels of neighborhood proactive policing were associated with increased risk of preterm birth for Black birthing people in New Orleans.

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“Integrating Racism as a Sentinel Indicator in Public Health Surveillance and Monitoring Systems”

Jourdyn Lawrence headshot

Jourdyn A. Lawrence, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel FIRST Program, co-authored this research.

Researchers evaluated public health surveillance and monitoring systems’ (PHSMS) efforts to collect, monitor, track, and analyze racism.

Authors concluded that there is a paucity of PHSMS that measure individual-level racism, and few systems are linked to structural racism measures.

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“Structural Racism, the Social Determination of Health, and Health Inequities: The Intersecting Impacts of Housing and Mass Incarceration”

Ali Groves

Ali Groves, PhD, MHS, Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention, co-authored this research.

This article argues that in order to fully understand and address the health inequities that result from structural racism associated with housing, we must simultaneously examine how housing intersects with mass incarceration, another manifestation of structural racism.

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Read AJPH's special issue on structural racism and public health.