DePaul's Fernando DeMaio, an associate professor of sociology, testified before the Illinois House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Availability and Access in Chicago on Sept. 12. DeMaio presented data from his research on infant mortality in U.S. cities and a comparison of Chicago and Toronto.
In his testimony, DeMaio told lawmakers, “If we are to improve community health in Chicago, we need to learn lessons from what cities such as Toronto have done, prioritizing equity in health and investing in the health of all residents.”
DeMaio’s analyses of low birth weights in Chicago neighborhoods compared with neighborhoods in Toronto shows that prioritizing equity in health care is critical to improving outcomes. While Canada’s universal health care system plays a role in its improved infant mortality rates, DeMaio’s research and the growing literature suggest that racism and discrimination in the U.S., particularly in Chicago, is harming the health of African-American families.