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Position Statement: Standing in Solidarity Against Racial Violence and Injustice

Migrant Clinicians Network, a nonprofit dedicated to health justice, mourns and condemns the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade. Racism, as we have witnessed throughout our nation’s history and which remains pernicious, unrelenting, and unaddressed today, has deadly consequences. Racial violence and police brutality, widespread and at times highly visible, are not the full extent of America’s racism.  Structural racism, deeply entrenched in many of our institutions including but not limited to the criminal justice and health systems, threatens the lives and health of people of color. Racism is a root cause of health inequities, which affect the daily lives of people across the nation. Social inequities stemming from historical and contemporary racism affect health. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Black Americans experience health injustices from birth to death, with a higher infant mortality rate and a lower life expectancy overall.  People of color have inadequate access to health care, including lack of access to sufficient health facilities. These compounding inequities lead to worse health outcomes, which are then met by both implicit and explicit biases in the exam room. The COVID-19 crisis lays bare the results of such health injustices; Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at a rate almost three times higher than that of whites.

Black lives matter. We refuse to stay neutral. We condemn racial violence and stand for racial justice.  We recognize that the pervasive racism in our society is a serious and ongoing threat to public health. We stand for the transformation of our societal systems to ensure equitable treatment. We demand an end to the practices and norms that have led to hundreds of years of compounded trauma caused by racism that continue today. We demand accountability when injustice occurs. And we call for new inclusive, sustainable, and equitable systems to finally ensure health justice for all.  


Further Reading:

The New England Journal of Medicine has run several important and well-researched perspective pieces:

Structural Racism and Supporting Black Lives — The Role of Health Professionals

Misdiagnosis, Mistreatment, and Harm — When Medical Care Ignores Social Forces

Inequity in Crisis Standards of Care

CDC’s “COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups.”

Left Voice’s “Structural Violence, COVID-19, and The Bronx: A Black Physician on Health Inequities

The Century Foundation’s report, “Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans



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