ATLANTIC CITY — New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy highlighted racial disparities in health care in Atlantic City and across the state Thursday during the Office of Minority & Multicultural Health’s Equity Forum.
Murphy noted a few alarming statistics in her address. Atlantic City, she said, has the second highest percentage of preterm births in the state, and the highest rate of obesity.
And more than 85 percent of city residents are on Medicaid, she said.
“Honestly, talking about these inequities is uncomfortable,” Murphy said. “But we must make ourselves uncomfortable and have these conversations to fight systemic racism.”
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Black infants in New Jersey are three times more likely to die in their first year than white infants, she said, the highest racial disparity in the country. The rate of black infant mortality was cited as a major health issue affecting the city in a recent report to Gov. Phil Murphy released over the summer.
“It’s wholly unacceptable,” Murphy said. “These dismal and morally reprehensible statistics illustrate why it is so important to highlight health equity at the national and at the state level.”
The forum, attended by health care professionals from around the state, comes at the outset of National Minority Health Month. Other speakers at the Atlantic City Convention Center included Darrin Anderson, executive director of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, and Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the state Department of Health.