CareQuest Institute Commends CDC For Declaring Racism A Public Health “Epidemic”

Statement from Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan: “We cannot truly address disparities in health care without addressing systemic racism that underlies it all.”  

On April 8, Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued a statement declaring racism an “epidemic” that is impacting public health. 

Today, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health CEO and President Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan issued the following statement commending Dr. Walensky for her comments. Dr. Minter-Jordan, also a physician and former CEO of the Dimock Health Center, states that we cannot truly address health care disparities without addressing systemic racism across all areas of society that “underlies it all.” 

The following is a statement from CareQuest Institute CEO and President Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan 

“I commend the CDC and Dr. Rochelle Walensky for calling out racism as the public health epidemic that it is. 

The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the deep racial disparities in our health care system. But we cannot expect those inequities to simply fade after the pandemic, because the pandemic didn’t create them. Lack of economic opportunity, lack of affordable housing and healthy food options, lack of access to health insurance, lack of quality affordable care, lack of representation in the medical field, implicit bias and, stereotyping – these are all barriers that have blocked people of color from their access to a fair system for generations. 

We cannot address inequities in health care without addressing the systemic racism that underlies it all. Oral health must be part of that work. Oral health care has been treated as separate from our overall health system for far too long. Americans in poverty are 2.5 times more likely to have an unmet dental need due to lack of insurance, and Black adults are 68% more likely to have an unmet dental need than white adults. With the direct tie between oral health and overall health, there  is no question that these disparities lead to poorer health outcomes for people of color. 

I appreciate the words of Dr. Walensky and implore everyone in our health care and public policy community to declare racism a public health crisis and take action. When we do, we can truly begin the long, difficult journey of building a health system that works for everyone. Finally.” 

About CareQuest Institute for Oral Health  
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health is a national nonprofit championing a more equitable future where every person can reach their full potential through excellent health. We do this through our work in grantmaking, research, health improvement programs, policy and advocacy, and education as well as our leadership in dental benefits, care delivery, and innovation advancements. We collaborate with thought leaders, health care providers, patients, and local, state, and federal stakeholders to accelerate oral health care transformation and create a system designed for everyone. To learn more, visit   

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Kristin LaRoche