BOSTON (WHDH) - A Boston doctor is marking Juneteenth with a call to action, saying the holiday should be a time to reflect on and address inequality in U.S. health care.

“We have to have clear insight into the root cause in the differences in health outcomes for people by demographics. We have to ask ourselves why it’s so demographically predictable,” said Dr. Thea James of Boston Medical Center. “We have to be transformative in what we do right now.”

James said many health problems stem from economic inequality, with the lack of money limiting people’s options.

“They can’t prioritize health because they’re prioritizing survival,” James said. “We should be focusing on the entire ecosystem so that you can support and create more sustainable local economies.”

Racial trauma also affects mental health, James said.

“The racial trauma is like an accumulation of acts of racism and discrimination every single day. And they can big acts, you know like what happened in Buffalo or what happened in South Carolina, or then can be smaller things like microagressions or everything in between,” James said. “White people might not recognize the trauma that that causes in people of color, but it’s happening constantly all the time because you just don’t see a way out.”

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