ID News Round-Up: Racism is a Public Health Issue

Protests are occurring throughout the US since the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, sparking renewed discussions of systemic racism in our society. Read recent news from healthcare organizations, with a focus on racism and public health:

Internists “Gravely Concerned” About Discrimination and Violence by Public Authorities and Others: The American College of Physicians (ACP) is gravely concerned whenever any person is subject to discrimination, racism, harassment, and violence, whether it’s by police and other public authorities, or by private individuals discriminating and committing violence against others because of their race or other characteristics. It is evident that African-Americans in particular are at risk of being subjected to discrimination and violence against them because of their race, endangering them and even costing them their lives. This should never be acceptable and those responsible must be held accountable. May 29, 2020

Police Brutality Must Stop: The American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes that physical or verbal violence between law enforcement officers and the public, particularly among Black and Brown communities where these incidents are more prevalent and pervasive, is a critical determinant of health and supports research into the public health consequences of these violent interactions. May 29, 2020

AAP Condemns Racism, Offers Advice for Families: The killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests across the country have laid bare the nation’s legacy of racism and discrimination and the ways it harms all members of our communities. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) condemns racism of all forms, and notes that even vicarious racism—witnessed through social media, conversations with friends or family, or media images—harms children’s health. June 1, 2020

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) CEO Comments on Social Unrest, Racism, and Inequality: We are of our community—and our community is in pain. We cannot escape the problems of society—for we carry the successes and challenges of our community with us wherever we go. Left unchecked, racism, sexism, homophobia, and fear of the other can enter any organization or community—and destroy the foundations upon which we must build our future. The past few harrowing days have laid bare how a lack of trust, respect, and leadership can tear at our social fabric. In these times, we must pull together and provide leadership in our own communities. Leadership is not about having all of the answers. It starts with unwavering principles that can steady us when the world seems unbalanced. June 1, 2020

Response to the Death of George Floyd: The incomprehensible death of George Floyd has left our country grieving and demands attention to the environment of disparities, inequities and structural racism in which it occurred. As infectious diseases and HIV healthcare providers, we stand against discrimination in any form. We are deeply concerned by the over-policing, the apparent disregard for black lives, and long-standing structural inequities that plague our country. We will continue to call for answers to the consequences that we see in our streets, in our emergency rooms and in our practices, again and again. June 1, 2020

Alliance for Aging Research Statement Condemning Ongoing Racism and Violence Targeting Black Communities Across the US: All of us at Alliance for Aging Research believe that everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, should be able to experience healthy aging. The horror and grief we are feeling as an organization over the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the racial profiling of Christian Cooper, and the long list of senseless deaths and assaults on human dignity before them, compel us to speak out, condemn these acts of racism and violence, and commit ourselves to advocating for social justice harder than ever before. June 2, 2020

Nation’s Public Health Leaders Stand United Against Racism: The effects of racism, high prevalence of health disparities, and systemic oppression that have deeply affected Black communities and other communities of color are issues that are of great importance to our nation’s health officers. The events of this past weekend, which arose after the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, contribute to the scars of our nation and further expose fissures within the very structural systems that are in place to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live and thrive in environments that are safe, stable, and healthy. Racism has no place within our society, and it counters our vision of advancing health equity and optimal health for all. June 2, 2020

NFID Statement ExcerptNFID Statement on the Impact of Racism on Public Health: On behalf of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), we wish to express our outrage and grief over the tragic death of George Floyd and other victims of systemic racism. The fact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to afflict the country and affects Blacks/African-Americans in disproportionate numbers reminds us of the critical importance of following public health recommendations to help control the pandemic… We cannot achieve our vision of healthier lives through effective prevention and treatment of infectious diseases without addressing racism and its role in driving health disparities. June 2, 2020

SAHM Statement about Recent Victims of Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement: On behalf of the members of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), we write to express our shared outrage, grief, and pain over the horrific murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breona Taylor, and George Floyd. We are heartbroken that their names have been added to the ever-growing list of Black people who have been the victims of the systemic racism present in law enforcement and justice systems. June 2020

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