The mission of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research is “to improve the health of individuals, families, and populations by understanding the problems, issues, and alternatives in the design and delivery of health care services.” Health equity is central to the research of the center. For many years, the Sheps community has addressed racism and health care through critical work informing public policy.
In a recent video, Sheps Center Director Mark Holmes emphasized the centerʼs decades-long engagement in health services research on the systems and structures that determine individual and population health. “It is our responsibility to exercise and deploy … our scientific expertise to engage in concrete action to dismantle structural racism in health and society,” he said. “Equity is a core element of health services research, but we havenʼt always made this element as visible — or, admittedly, as central to many of our individual projects — as we should.”
Acknowledging that their work has not been enough, the Sheps Center has recently shared how structural racism manifests in their own research in a video with members from their community. It is a compilation of researchers asserting the need to focus on structural racism in health. In the video, Holmes states that “understanding and addressing the various pathways by which structural racism affects health is one way that we can, and must, contribute to solutions every day.”
I urge you to watch their video and learn about and support the health services research that is central to the Sheps Center. Finally, and importantly, follow the Sheps Center public commitment shared by Holmes at the videoʼs end. In six months, Holmes plans to provide an update on how the center is tackling structural racism, holding himself and other center leaders accountable to stay on this path.