U of M receives $5M to launch new Antiracism Research for Health Equity Center

Ginna Roe
Updated: February 28, 2021 08:26 PM
Created: February 28, 2021 11:30 AM

The University of Minnesota received a $5 million gift to launch a new center aimed at combating racism when it comes to health care access. 

Rachel Hardeman is an associate professor and Blue Cross Endowed Professor of Health and Racial Equity at the U of M School of Public Health. Her job is to study how racism impacts access to health care.

"Health equity is the goal that we are working towards and that means that everyone is able to be healthy and has the opportunity to thrive and right now, what we know in Minnesota is that's not the case for most folks," Hardeman said. 

When it comes to COVID-19, Hardeman said not all Minnesotans have the same access to care. 

"We see in Minnesota, with respect to COVID-19, that our Black and Latinx and our indigenous communities are at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and therefore are at greater risk of being hospitalized, ending up in the ICU and our mortality rates are actually higher for those groups as well in our state," Hardeman said. 

The goal of the new Antiracism Research for Health Equity Center is to address health disparities and find solutions for Minnesotans. The $5 million to establish the center is a philanthropic gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. 

In a statement, the U of M said, "Blue Cross' commitment to bring about change through philanthropy serves as an invitation for others to provide sustainable funding for the center and its goal of understanding and dismantling structural racism and its negative impact on health."

The center will develop education and training on health inequities and structural racism and foster community engagement. Hardeman said the first step is to bring community leaders and policymakers together to have conversations about racism and health inequities. 

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