“Structural racism” refers to the ways in which historical and contemporary racial inequities in outcomes are perpetuated by social, economic, and political systems, including mutually reinforcing systems of health care, education, housing, employment, the media, and criminal justice. It results in systemic variation in opportunity according to race or ethnic background — for example, in racial differentials in access to health care.
Ansell et al. use the case study of a 60-year-old Black woman with breast cancer as an example of structural racism and propose three critical strategies for addressing structural racism in health care. These strategies hinge on shifting the focus of work on racial differences in health outcomes from biologic or behavioural problems to the design of health care organisations and other social institutions.