MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - One of the largest health care systems in the state is donating millions of dollars to a new University of Minnesota research center. It's all part of a growing commitment to address inequities in public health care.
University of Minnesota Associate Professor Dr. Rachel Hardeman is the visionary behind the new Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity.
"This gift from the BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota is literally making it possible right now," said Hardeman.
BlueCross and BlueShield of Minnesota was the first to pitch in, donating $5 million to the U of M’s School of Public Health.
"The overarching goal of the center is the pursuit of health equity and justice in order to ensure that every single person has the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life," said Hardeman.
It’s a center focused on dismantling structural racism and discrimination in health care. In Minnesota, Black, Indigenous and people of color face some of the largest racial inequities in the country. Having grown up in Minneapolis, for Dr. Hardeman this is a very real and personal endeavor.
"I’ve watched these health inequities that we were talking about and the health inequities that I’ve researched, I watched them play out in my family, in our community," she said.
Dr. Hardeman says that some of her work will be based in measuring structural racism and creating a deeper understanding among those committed to effecting change.
"When I think about May 2020 and George Floyd’s murder, I think we are at a critical point in our state and in our communities and that we have to be moving forward and not sort of sitting back and letting his death sort of be in vain, we have responsibility to do better," said Hardeman.
Dr. Hardeman says that the center will develop education and training on racism and health inequities, and intends to be a national leader in antiracist health research.