AZPHA Resolution: Structural Racism is a Public Health Crisiis: Opportunities for Policy Interventions

Many of AzPHA’s public health priorities are driven by Resolutions that are approved by our members.  AzPHA has dozens of Resolutions in place dating back to the 1930s. They are all available on our website: AzPHA Resolutions

Early resolutions focused on the importance of food safety regulations, tuberculosis control, family planning, and other public health issues. More recent Resolutions have focused on support for addressing the opioid epidemic, certifying community health workers, and addressing electronic cigarettes. Our Resolutions are important to us because they set our public health advocacy priorities.

AzPHA Resolutions stay in place until and unless the Members vote to remove or update a Resolution. Resolutions are developed by AzPHA Members and are forwarded to the Board for review. Members must approve all Resolutions.

We are pleased to announce the approval of a 2023 AzPHA Resolution:

Structural Racism is a Public Health Crisis: Opportunities for Policy Interventions

This resolution has been in the works for years (some have been asking for such a statement for decades!). A special note of thanks to the team who instigated this process over the past several months, to get it to where we could review and vote on it as a community. The Membership and Board of Directors of the Arizona Public Health Association thanks the members of AZPHA’s Community Health Justice Committee for their long hours of work developing this important policy statement.  We also recognize the assistance and mentorship of the American Public Health Association in the development of this Resolution.

Primary Authors:

Zeruiah Buchanan, MPH; Carly Camplain, PhD;  Satya Sarma, MD; RJ Shannon, BA; Jannah Scott, MPH; and Vivian Huang, MD: (2022-23  AzPHA Community Health Justice Committee)

Assistance from:

Lily Cardenas, MSW; Mac McCullough, PhD; Aimee Sitzler, MSW; Marcus Johnson, MPH; Lauriane Bellot-Hanson, M.Adm; Penny Allee-Taylor, BS


Structural racism creates variations in population health outcomes. Structural racism operates through economic, educational, criminal justice, environmental and health policy levers to create a legacy of inequities that can have long lasting impacts, even after the policies themselves are changed. Policies and procedures that perpetuate racial inequities continue to exacerbate existing poor health outcomes and worsen quality of life for people belonging to marginalized racial and ethnic groups. The current research goes as far as to point to a physiological basis for health disparities related to increased and sustained stress termed “weathering.”

Arizona is home to Native Americans, Latinos and Latinas, Asian American & Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, Black/African-Americans, people who are refugees, immigrant, and migrant workers (RIM) and other people of color who have historically suffered the health impacts of structural racism. By acknowledging this ongoing injustice, we begin the work of promoting equity within our education, criminal justice, housing, and health systems.