Doctors Address Racism


“We are doctors and medical students who witnessed the events of the week of July 4th, 2016 with horror and grief. The murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota and Delrawn Small in Brooklyn, New York reiterated a lesson that we should not have to keep learning: that black and brown people in the United States are at risk of police violence unlike any other group of people. There is a long tradition of physician-activists who have devoted their careers to working for racial justice. Yet historically, physicians as a group have not yet taken adequate responsibility for confronting racism, in our work or outside of it. “

This is the beginning of a  “Letter to our Patients on Racism”  signed by 1492 (as of our last count) doctors.  They make 5 commitments to their patients

  1. “We commit to support Black Lives Matter
  1. “We commit to dismantling the structural racism embedded in the healthcare system.”
  1. “We commit to learn how to provide trauma-informed care, and to teach this approach to our students, trainees, and fellow providers.”
  1. “We commit to healing communities ravaged by discriminatory criminal justice practices through engaging public health systems.”
  1. “We commit to using our power as constituents and leaders to insist that every major medical society and association develop a policy on racial justice.”

The letter links to an impressive range of scholarly sources documenting the role of racism both as an underlying cause of health disparities as well as the role of racism in health care it self.

As a union we  have always called for a collective response from doctors for racial justice.  We applaud the letter and urge more Doctor Council members to sign on.




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