Editor's Forum

On the Importance of Anti-Racism

The resurgence of anti-racism mentality in this country is long overdue. Do you know what it means to be anti-racist?

Black lives matter.

The past few months we have seen a resurgence of Black advocacy and empowerment like we haven't seen in years. There were Black Lives Matter protests in all 50 states and numerous countries around the world. The world wept together. The world marched together.

However, we still have so much more work to do. In so many avenues Black and minority communities are disadvantaged. Black women are up to 4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death when compared to White women, even with things like income and education factored in.1 And a study that examined trends 2013-2017 noted that White patients in the United States received higher quality health care when compared to 40% of Black patients.2

Recent statistics noted that only 6% of physicians and surgeons are Black, even though Black people make up 14% of the United States population.3 This becomes even more problematic when we consider that minority populations tend to have higher rates of obesity, chronic illness. Black men have the lowest life expectancy of any racial group.4

Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research demonstrated that Black patients, especially Black men, trusted medical advice more when it came from Black doctors than White doctors. The paper argued that centuries of oppression and brutality has made Black patients trust White authority figures less than the doctors who looked more like themselves.5 Thus, increasing representation becomes even more important.

Even though by now we have all heard about Black Lives Matter movement, it was important to me to highlight part of the group's mission statement for all of #EMRAFamily to read:

"Four years ago, what is now known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network began to organize. It started out as a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

"In the years since, we've committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.

"Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state."

The statement is much longer, and I would empower all EMRA readers to take a few minutes to visit their website (blacklivesmatter.com) to learn more. I would also encourage you to join EMRA's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This committee has hosted international and national leaders at their events, which has always left me so fulfilled and refreshed.

The resurgence of anti-racism mentality in this country is growth that has been long overdue. We have been forced, repeatedly, to come to terms with the racism in this country. Racism is not dead. It is very much alive and thriving. And it's important for us to understand it will never be dead. We all need to continuously work to be the change we want to see. I have already witnessed positive changes in the community, with my hospital creating a task force that works to intentionally increase diversity in residency programs and in program leadership. Multiple studies have demonstrated that diversity in an organization's leadership is important and has shown that diverse companies produce 19% more revenue.6

I implore everyone reading this to not only be educated and informed, but to be anti-racist.


References

  1. National Partnership for Women and Families. Black Women's Maternal Health. Accessed Feb. 5, 2020. 
  2. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. Accessed Feb. 5, 2020. 
  3. Deloitte. DATA USA: Physicians & surgeons - Diversity.
  4. Bond MJ, Herman AA. Lagging life expectancy for black men: a public health imperative. Am J Public Health. 2016;106(7):1167-1169.
  5. National Bureau of Economic Research. Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland. NBER Working Paper No. 24787. Aug 2019.
  6. Lorenzo R, Voigt N, Tsusaka M, Krentz M, Abouzahr K. How diverse leadership teams boost innovation. BCG Henderson Institute.Jan. 23, 2018.

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