Statement from New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald for Juneteenth

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 16, 2023) - "As we commemorate Juneteenth, the New York State Department of Health is doubling down on our commitment to continue to fight structural racism and deeply focus on health equity. Juneteenth is not only a time to celebrate, but to acknowledge the injustices and socioeconomic disadvantages endured by generations of Americans descended from enslaved people.

The origins of this holiday are profoundly connected to the work we do every day. The structural racism that began under the immoral yoke of slavery and has persisted in other forms to this day directly impacts the health of Black and Brown people. The imprint of redlining, limited educational and economic opportunity, and environmental hazards has left a mark across a broad spectrum of health indicators—from maternal health and respiratory illnesses to diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse disorder. The list goes on.

And this is why we will continue to advocate for the elimination of health disparities that place Black and Brown people at a higher risk of virtually every noncommunicable disease. As public health champions, we will not stop until access to quality care is available to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, immigration status, or disability."