Police brutality and black health: Setting the agenda for public health scholars

Sirry Alang, Donna McAlpine, Ellen McCreedy, Rachel Hardeman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


We investigated links between police brutality and poor health outcomes among Blacks and identified five intersecting pathways: (1) fatal injuries that increase population-specific mortality rates; (2) adverse physiological responses that increase morbidity; (3) racist public reactions that cause stress; (4) arrests, incarcerations, and legal, medical, and funeral bills that cause financial strain; and (5) integrated oppressive structures that cause systematic disempowerment. Publichealthscholarsshould champion efforts to implement surveillance of police brutality and press funders to support research to understand the experiences of people faced with police brutality. We must ask whether our own research, teaching, and service are intentionally antiracist and challenge the institutions we work in to ask the same. To reduce racial health inequities, public health scholars must rigorously explore the relationship between police brutality and health, and advocate policies that address racist oppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-665
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


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