Studies show that historically marginalised populations in the US have shorter lifespans, greater physical and mental illness burden, earlier onset and aggressive progression of disease, higher maternal and infant mortality, and less access to healthcare, a press release from the American Medical Association (AMA) reads.
As such, a new policy, approved by AMA, aims to take action against racism in healthcare. It calls upon AMA to act by identifying a set of best practices for healthcare institutions, physician practices, and academic medical centres to address and mitigate the effects of racism on patients, providers, international medical graduates, and populations, including:
- Acknowledging the harm caused by racism and unconscious bias within medical research and healthcare;
- Identifying tactics to counter racism and mitigate its health effects;
- Encouraging medical education curricula to promote a greater understanding of the topic;
- Supporting external policy development and funding for researching racism’s health risks and damages; and
- Working to prevent influences of racism and bias in health technology innovation.
Committed to optimal health for all
Responding, AMA agrees that racism is indeed an ‘urgent public health threat’, as it forms a barrier to the advancement of health equity and appropriate medical care.
“The AMA recognises that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalised communities. Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer,” said AMA Board Member Willarda V. Edwards, M.B.A. “As physicians and leaders in medicine, we are committed to optimal health for all, and are working to ensure all people and communities reach their full health potential. Declaring racism as an urgent public health threat is a step in the right direction toward advancing equity in medicine and public health, while creating pathways for truth, healing, and reconciliation.”
Improving access to healthcare for all is a key part of improving patient outcomes – a goal that everyone working in the global healthcare industry is invested in.