“From Florence to Fossil Fuels: Nursing Has Always Been About Environmental Health” (McCauley, 2021), provides readers with a historical perspective of nursing's role in environmental health, stresses the danger of climate change, sheds light on heath disparities associate with poor environmental conditions, and puts forth a call to action for more nursing education and research in this area of health. We do not disagree that climate change is a threat to health, environmental health disparities exist, or that more education and research is needed in environmental health. We submit that the biggest threat to environmental health and the underlying cause for environmental health disparities is racism, a concept absent in McCauley's (2021) perspective. Just as nursing environmental science is organized into four main categories, racism is also (individual/internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and structural). There is clear evidence that racism is a primary antecedent for poor health outcomes among Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) yet healthcare providers, policy makers and nurse scientists continue to address this fact in a cursory way (
Bailey et al., 2017) and in doing so. Using a social justice lens, we will examine how institutional and structural racism impact physical, chemical, biological, and cultural hazards as defined by McCauley (2021).
- Bailey Z.D.
- Krieger N.
- Agenor M.
- Graves J.
- Linos N.
- Bassett M.T.
Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions.
The Lancet. 2017; 389: 1453-1463https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30569-X
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- Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions.The Lancet. 2017; 389: 1453-1463https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30569-X
- Confronting racism in environmental health sciences: moving the science forward for eliminating racial inequities.Environmental health perspectives. 2021; 129: 55002https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP8186
- Structural racism: Building on the insights of John Calmore.North Carolina Law Review. 2008; 86: 791-816
- Racism and Health I: Pathways and Scientific Evidence.The American behavioral scientist. 2013; 57https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764213487340
- Racism and health: evidence and needed research.Annual Review of Public Health. 2019; 40: 105-125
- Engage for equity: a long-term study of community-based participatory research and community-engaged research practices and outcomes.Health Education & Behavior. 2020; 47: 380-390
Published online: August 10, 2021
Accepted: July 13, 2021
Received: July 2, 2021
We have no known conflicts of interest to disclose. The authors did not receive funding for this manuscript.
© 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.