In 2020, Portland reported the most incidents of police brutality across the nation since the start of demonstrations in May, with nearly three times as many reports compared with second-place New York City, according to 2020PoliceBrutality, an open-source project that tracks officer violence in the U.S. Even as loud activists demanded institutional change, wildfires burned across Oregon and the COVID-19 pandemic raged, with both factors disproportionately impacting minority communities.
In September 2020, wildfire smoke created the most hazardous air quality conditions the Portland area had ever experienced, resulting in an 88% surge in visits to hospitals and emergency departments by patients with asthma-like symptoms during this time.
The trifecta of emergencies has magnified the need for culturally sensitive providers conscious of the social determinants of health in the city. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, healthcare providers are rethinking how they connect with the community.
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