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Racism is a Key Driver of Poor Health Conditions

The Central Wisconsin Health Partnership (CWHP) is a six-county collaborative made up of local health departments, a federally qualified health center, and human service departments. CWHP’s vision is for healthy people in thriving communities. This vision will never be achievable while systemic oppression and racism continues to exist in our communities. The inexcusable murder of George Floyd was a catalyst to a national dialogue about the detrimental and life-threatening impacts of structural racism.

Racism affects every system within our society – housing, education, employment, and more – and all of these factors are collective drivers of health outcomes. It is well proven that persistent discrimination can lead to chronic, toxic stress that causes people of color to suffer huge health disparities. In Wisconsin, black women are five times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women are. This fact remains true despite educational attainment and income level. Furthermore, Wisconsin has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation with black babies dying three times more often than white babies do. In Wisconsin, both male and female African Americans have higher rates of heart disease mortality and hospitalization compared to their counterparts in the total population. These disparities are unacceptable and CWHP is committed to addressing these and other inequities in our community.

CWHP agencies have begun internal assessments to identify discriminatory policies and practices and will work to dismantle the implicit biases that have been embedded in our local systems for decades. All members of our communities deserve better, and we will continue to create change in order to break down the barriers racism creates and improve the health of those most affected.


The Central Wisconsin Health Partnership (CWHP) is a consortium covering a six-county region including Adams, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Waupaca, and Waushara Counties. Membership is currently comprised of all county human services and public health departments, Family Health/La Clinica, and other interested health advocates and providers in the region. To learn more: https://www.cwhpartnership.org/

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