Ivy League professor-led American Heart Association declares 'structural racism' in cardiovascular care

The American Heart Association issued a “call for action” against structural racism in cardiovascular care.

The organization is one of the latest professional associations to make a statement about racism in America.

The American Heart Association — a nonprofit organization that funds cardiovascular research — issued a call for action against structural racism in cardiovascular care.

“Structural racism is a major cause of poor health and premature death from heart disease and stroke,” explained a November 10 press statement. The association examined the “historical context, current state and potential solutions to address structural racism in the U.S., and outlines steps the association is taking to address and mitigate the root causes of health care disparities.”

Association president and Columbia University professor Mitchell Elkind said that “the American Heart Association reiterates its unequivocal support of antiracist principles.” The nonprofit will go “beyond words to take immediate and ongoing action to accelerate social equity.”

The association noted that in comparison to White Americans, Black and Hispanic patients experience higher death rates due to heart disease and stroke.

[RELATED: Think tank counters Critical Race Theory with ‘liberty and justice for all’ message]

The underlying problem, according to the American Heart Association, is “structural racism.”

As president of Yale New Haven Hospital Keith Churchwell asserted in the press release, “structural racism is an embedded part of legal, business and social constructs and a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.” He explained that “although structural racism has existed for centuries, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated the existing disparities in health disparities.”

The press release says that structural racism is “real,” whether it is “blatant to others or perceived only or primarily by those impacted,” also asserting that “the task of dismantling the impact of structural racism on economic, social and health inequities is a shared responsibility that must belong to all of society.”

The American Heart Association committed to identify and remove barriers caused by structural racism by continuing to advance cardiovascular research and discoveries.

American Heart Association media relations specialist Suzanne Grant told Campus Reform that the organization will make financial investments in “community-led solutions,” which “are critical to address the need for equitable health at the zip code level.” It will also target funding to find “evidence-based solutions to addressing equitable health and health effects of structural racism,” among other related initiatives.  

The nonprofit is one of the latest professional associations to make a statement about racism in the United States.

For instance, the Mathematical Association of America — a professional association of high school and university teachers — alleged that math “inherently carries human biases.” The group also criticized President Trump’s attempts to remove the teaching of critical race theory from American schools.

[RELATED: Math association says math ‘inherently carries human biases,’ citing Critical Race Theory]

Like the Mathematical Association of America, several current and former university professors lead the American Heart Association.

Campus Reform reached out to the American Heart Association for comment and will update this article accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft