The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the disproportionate impact of health crises on people of color. At the same time, high-profile police killings of Black people sparked a rising awareness of the injustices of systemic racism.
In 2021, Health Equity Solutions led a campaign across 21 cities and towns across Connecticut to officially declare racism a public health crisis. In 2021, Health Equity Solutions took this work to the state level and pressed for the passage of SB1, An Act Equalizing Comprehensive Access to Mental, Behavioral and Physical Health Care in Response to the Pandemic, a bill that acknowledges that racism is a public health crisis and takes steps to address injustices. This bill advances health equity through three main provisions:
- It standardizes the collection of race, ethnicity, and language data — necessary information for increasing equity among Connecticut residents.
- It declares racism a public health crisis, following the lead of 21 localities across the state that have already made this declaration.
- Finally, SB1 establishes a definition for doulas in state statute. Doulas help give birthing parents the support and empowerment to make their own decisions, and increased access to doula care has been proven to improve birth outcomes. Defining doula in state law is an essential step in systematizing and expanding access to that care.
SB1 was passed through the legislature and became law in 2021.