Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Looks To Address Internal Systemic Racism | New Hampshire Public Radio

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Looks To Address Internal Systemic Racism

Oct 13, 2020

Credit Allison Quantz for NHPR

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health has declared racism a public health crisis, along with 38 other members of the national Healthcare Anchor Network.

The national organization said it would double down to address systemic racism within its respective communities. 

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Other state governments and health care systems across the country declared racism a public health crisis this summer, including governments within 26 states, according to the American Public Health Association. 

In New Hampshire, other medical organizations, like the New Hampshire Medical Society and the New Hampshire Academy of Family Physicians have also announced their efforts to address systemic racism internally.

Officials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock say they took a step towards addressing the problem in June when they created a task force on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. 

Joanne Conroy, CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, said it was important for Dartmouth-Hitchcock to assess the problem first by listening to community members. 

“I think it is super important to identify the scope of the problem you’re trying to solve before you actually jump into tactics. And that’s when you can actually have the most success,” Conroy said.

Conroy says over the course of ongoing listening sessions, the task force heard community members and employees share their concerns about racism within the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health medical system. 

“The most powerful things were sometimes the lack of respect that individuals showed for each other. Lack of acknowledgement. Of how the perception would be different for somebody that was brown or Black versus somebody that was white in the environment that they work in or receive care in,” she said.

Conroy says Dartmouth-Hitchcock plans to take action on task force recommendations, which are expected by the end of this month.