Flynn, Janey plan hearing on 'health disparities' in Communities of Color

Boston City Councillors Ed Flynn and Kim Janey will be hosting a hearing next week to discuss public health disparities in communities of color in the City of Boston. The hearing will take place next Friday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. in the Boston City Council’s Iannella Chamber. The hearing will be facilitated by the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities.

“The lack of equity in our public health systems has dire consequences for the residents I serve, especially communities of color. We must do more to remove implicit and explicit racial bias from our health care system,” said Councillor Janey. “I look forward to holding this hearing with Councilor Flynn, to explore solutions that move us toward a better and more equitable health care system equipped to serve all of our residents.”

“As the District 2 City Councilor, I represent a diverse district with a large immigrant community and communities of color. I know of the public health challenges that disproportionately affect these residents,” Councillor Flynn said. “Councilor Janey and I look forward to this important discussion with experts and residents to see how we can ensure that communities of color have equitable access to resources to address their health issues.”

The councillors say they want to start a discussion on public health disparities in Boston and plan for how the city, health care and social service providers, nonprofits and other organizations can collaborate to improve public health outcomes for residents of color.

In the most recent Health of Boston report from the Boston Public Health Commission, the findings indicated that African American, Asian American, and Latino residents of Boston are significantly more likely than White residents to suffer from poor public health outcomes. Moreover, a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists finds that Asian Amerian, African American, and Latino residents in Boston suffer from high exposure to traffic pollutants that increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and other respiratory conditions.

In Massachusetts, the study finds that Chinatown is the neighborhood most disproportionately affected by traffic pollution, and that Asian Americans residents are exposed to 36 percent more vehicle pollution than White residents, while African Americans are exposed to 34 percent more vehicle pollution, and Latino residents to 26 percent more pollution.

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