Anti-Racism in Healthcare

WCMS Letter to Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Requesting they Name Racism as a Public Health Crisis

July 8, 2020

Dear Buncombe County Board of Commissioners:

I am writing to ask you to name racism as a public health crisis in Buncombe County. On June 26, 2020, the Buncombe County Health and Human Services Board passed a proclamation that asserts this and describes action steps the board will take to advance racial equity and justice in our county.

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The Burdens of Race and History on Black People’s Health 400 Years After Jamestown

June 29, 2020

FROM AJPH:

The matter of race is a common thread throughout the historical tapestry of American society. Discourse on race tends to focus on the lived experience of Black people, because of the “peculiar institution” of slavery in America. Medical historian Todd Savitt documents examples of racism in medicine to illustrate his observation that “some white Southerners claimed and many others believed that blacks were medically different from whites and so in need of special treatment.”1(p53) The special treatment, in this context, provided the facade of medical authority supporting the prevailing wisdom that people of African descent derived from a species other than human and as such could be justifiably used as “chattel,” as slaves. Now, 400 years after the first slaves were brought to America, the vestiges of the belief that Black people are “less than” human remain solidly entrenched in today’s society.

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Racism and discrimination in health care: Providers and patients

June 29, 2020

FROM HARVARD HEALTH PUBLISHING: 

A patient of mine recently shared a story with me about her visit to an area emergency room a few years ago.* She had a painful medical condition. The emergency room staff not only did not treat her pain, but she recounted: “They treated me like I was trying to play them, like I was just trying to get pain meds out of them. They didn’t try to make any diagnosis or help me at all. They couldn’t get rid of me fast enough.”

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The history of African Americans and organized medicine

June 29, 2020

FROM AMA:

Segregation and racism within the medical profession have, and continue to, profoundly impact the African American community. Yet, the complex history of race in the medical profession is rarely acknowledged and often misunderstood. The AMA Institute for Ethics invited a panel of experts to review and analyze the historical roots of the black-white divide in American medicine. The following is a summary of the panel's findings, along with other resources.

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WCMS Statement on Racism as a Public Health Crisis

June 5, 2020

Racism is and has been a public health crisis since the birth of this country. Let us be clear: WCMS condemns structural and individual racism. We recognize this public denunciation is too little, too late and we are committed to the long journey ahead demanding concrete change in collective action with community members and partners.

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