In New Jersey, significant differences in health status persist among different racial groups.

During his New Jersey Budget 2024 speech, Governor Phil Murphy addressed the issues of Coveralls Kids, Veterans, and Maternal Health. However, it is apparent that there are deeper institutional problems that hold back New Jerseyans from accessing society’s benefits. A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation highlights the unequal distribution of social and economic resources that affect health among different racial and ethnic groups.

Black residents are more likely than whites, Hispanics, and Asians to contract and die from various illnesses, as per the state health department data. County data showed that Black and Hispanic communities had a disproportionate impact from COVID-19 due to living in densely populated, low-income, and poor communities. Moreover, many hospitals that primarily serve communities of color were found to have poor ratings for patient safety by the Institute for Healthcare Quality.

The decades-old housing market that fuels racism is also part of the problem. Redlining, racial covenants, and gentrification practices have contributed to housing segregation that affects minorities’ health outcomes. For instance, black women are more likely to develop serious complications such as hypertension and bleeding during childbirth.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests investing more in the recruitment, training, and salaries of doulas, midwives, and community health workers to assist pregnant minorities. However, much of the burden to bring substantive change will have to fall with lawmakers and Governor Phil Murphy’s administration. As such, continuous effort is necessary to address health disparities among minority groups in New Jersey.

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