NEST rejects racism, oppression and violence in all its forms. Structures of systemic racism threaten the physical and mental safety of individuals for the duration of their lives (1). White supremacist structures directly harm children, families and communities who are oppressed due to race (2). People of colour of all ages die at increased rates because of the construct of race (3). Individuals exposed to circumstances of adversity due to structural inequities experience toxic stress that threatens physical and mental health and behavioural strategies for the rest of their lives (4). Racism systematically disadvantages communities through impacted access to adequate education (5), nutrition (6), housing (7), and healthcare (8), which ultimately increases the risk of exposure to environmental toxins (9), joblessness (10), poverty (11), substance use (12), violence (13), chronic disease (14) and incarceration (15). These patterns are persistent and transgenerational (16).
NEST recognizes that the systems that create these inequities were deliberately designed to concentrate wealth among the white elite. Entire populations within our society have suffered for 400 years in order for others to benefit (17). It is not enough to focus our efforts as healthcare providers - a position itself infused with privilege - on anti-oppression. Supporting humans, communities and the planet in reaching their full potential is contingent on directly confronting and actively taking steps to deconstruct the white supremecist systems that have created intergenerational patterns of white privilege and oppression of racialized populations. Systemic racism, through silencing and marginalizing contributions of entire communities, harms the health and wellbeing of society as a whole.
NEST encourages all naturopathic doctors to engage in the work required to deepen their understanding of the mechanisms of structural racism and injustice, and to take active steps to work towards dismantling flawed systems. We call on our professional institutions and associations to embed anti-oppression and anti-white-supremacy strategies into education, continuing education and administration.
1. Bailey ZD, Krieger N, Agénor M, Graves J, Linos N, Bassett MT. Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions. Lancet. 2017;389(10077):1453‐1463. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30569-X
2. Bruner C. ACE, Place, Race, and Poverty: Building Hope for Children. Acad Pediatr. 2017;17(7S):S123‐S129. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2017.05.009
4. Thurston H, Bell JF, Induni M. Community-level Adverse Experiences and Emotional Regulation in Children and Adolescents. J Pediatr Nurs. 2018;42:25‐33. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2018.06.008
5. Alexander, K., Entwisle, D., & Bedinger, S. (1994). When Expectations Work: Race and Socioeconomic Differences in School Performance. Social Psychology Quarterly, 57(4), 283-299. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from
6. Phojanakong P, Brown Weida E, Grimaldi G, Lê-Scherban F, Chilton M. Experiences of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Are Associated with Food Insecurity and Poor Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(22):4369. Published 2019 Nov 8. doi:10.3390/ijerph16224369
7. Feagin, J. (1999). Excluding Blacks and Others From Housing: The Foundation of White Racism. Cityscape, 4(3), 79-91. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from
8. Richardson, L.D. and Norris, M. (2010), Access to Health and Health Care: How Race and Ethnicity Matter. Mt Sinai J Med, 77: 166-177. doi:10.1002/msj.20174
9. Brown P. Race, class, and environmental health: a review and systematization of the literature. Environ Res. 1995;69(1):15‐30. doi:10.1006/enrs.1995.1021
10. Topitzes J, Pate DJ, Berman ND, Medina-Kirchner C. Adverse childhood experiences, health, and employment: A study of men seeking job services. Child Abuse Negl. 2016;61:23‐34. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.09.012
12. Glass JE, Rathouz PJ, Gattis M, Joo YS, Nelson JC, Williams EC. Intersections of poverty, race/ethnicity, and sex: alcohol consumption and adverse outcomes in the United States. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2017;52(5):515‐524. doi:10.1007/s00127-017-1362-4
13. Joanne M. Kaufman (2005) Explaining the race/ethnicity–violence relationship: Neighborhood context and social psychological processes, Justice Quarterly, 22:2, 224-251, DOI: 10.1080/07418820500088986
14. Baker EA, Schootman M, Barnidge E, Kelly C. The role of race and poverty in access to foods that enable individuals to adhere to dietary guidelines. Prev Chronic Dis. 2006;3(3):A76.
15. HEITZEG, N. (2014). CHAPTER ONE: Criminalizing Education: Zero Tolerance Policies, Police in the Hallways, and the School to Prison Pipeline. Counterpoints, 453, 11-36. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from
16. Manduca R, Sampson RJ. Punishing and toxic neighborhood environments independently predict the intergenerational social mobility of black and white children. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(16):7772‐7777. doi:10.1073/pnas.1820464116