Multiracial activists gather on a city street to support a cause.
A woman wearing a handkerchief on her head painting a unity wall mural.

People established laws and practices that perpetuate barriers to health equity.
We can reinvent them.

We all want to live in a country where everyone—no matter their race, ethnicity, or class—has a fair and just opportunity to reach their best health and wellbeing. But unfair treatment based on race, referred to as structural racism, prevents this. It is built into our laws and policies, making it much harder for some of us to access respectful healthcare, affordable homes, well-funded schools and parks, and good jobs—all of which affect health.

But since people created these laws and policies, we can change them. At RWJF, we’re determined to do so. We’re working to break down barriers to health and build a future where everyone can live the healthiest life possible in the place they call home.

In this collection, we share research and perspectives about how race, racism and health are connected. It underscores the urgent need to work together to create the healthy, thriving communities we all deserve.

Featured Content

Aspen Ideas Health

How to Dismantle Structural Racism in Health

Rich Besser and panel members discussed confronting racist legacies and biases, laws and policies that place more value on some lives than others, and building partnerships in communities of color to implement solutions.

Featured Journal

Tackling Structural Racism In Health

Papers in this Health Affairs issue explore the systems and structures that are shaped by racism and in turn shape health and healthcare. 

RWJF and 80 Other Foundations Make a Case for Reparations

 “We will never close the health gap in America if we do not close the wealth gap that stems directly from the atrocities of slavery and centuries of racist policies and practices in the United States,” said Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO.

Addressing Racism in Research Can Transform Public Health

Researchers—and all those who apply it—must collectively hold accountable the systems allowing racism to continue to be a barrier to health equity. Together, we can ensure that health and social policies positively affect all communities.

Understanding and Mitigating Health Inequities, Past, Current, and Future Direction

Eliminating health disparities will require a movement away from disparities as the focus of research and toward a research agenda centered on achieving racial equity by dismantling structural racism. Perspectives from RWJF Alumna Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO Richard Besser, and Trustee David Williams.

A group of people are pictured in front of a graphic background.

Health Should No Longer Be a Privilege, But a Right

RWJF is taking steps to focus on one of the biggest barriers to health in America: structural racism.

Related News and Insights

Read expert perspectives and the latest research from RWJF to explore the opportunities and complexities of this topic.

Confronting racism illustration.

Blog Post

How Can We Use Conversation to Confront Racism?

Here’s how conversations can help us advance racial justice and build hope for a better future.