NEW YORK — Public health officials said last weekend’s protests and attacks in Charlottesville, Va., are a “public health issue,” CNN reports.
The American College of Physicians posted a statement on its website Monday saying that “hate crimes directed at people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics are a public health issue,” CNN reports.
“There are data indicating the public health ramifications of both the hate crime itself but also of the stigma of bias, the stigma of prejudice and hatred directed against somebody because of their sexual orientation, because of their race, because of their ethnicity or their country of origin,” said Dr. Jack Ende, president of the American College of Physicians and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, according to the CNN article. “For that reason, we felt that this is a public health issue, and we joined with other medical organizations to take a stance against hate crimes.”
The American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians also have issued policy statements on hate crime as a public health concern, CNN notes.
The American Public Health Association has a site devoted to racism’s negative impact on public health and launched a national campaign against racism, including hate crimes.
“We studied the statements of our sister groups before we came out with our own,” Ende told CNN. “There is a consensus within the medical societies that this really needs to be kept on our radar.”