Medical Organizations Against Police Brutality

Medical Organizations Standing Against Police Brutality

As the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us toward social distancing, the injustices in our criminal justice system still continue. In the wake of the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, it is critical that we raise our voices against racism and police brutality — even, and especially, under the current circumstances.
Below are the various medical organizations that have responded to these deaths and the recent protests with statements standing against police brutality. PfCJR offers support to these organizations, and hopes to collaborate with them in combating the racism and violence present in our justice system. 

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ACCREDITATION COUNCIL FOR GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION

“We have seen the young people of our nation – black, brown, and white – speak out against the scourge of racism in America. They call us all to respond as people, and we as physicians bear a special responsibility to respond. It is our collective duty to advocate for all our patients, and to care equally and equitably for all our patients, even as we care about our patients.

We must use the support and appreciation the public has provided us due to the heroic altruistic work we have seen in health care across our nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must leverage that heightened social standing to speak out on behalf of everyone, promote equity and fairness, and demand justice in all its forms, especially in the provision of health care to all who require it. As an organization, all of us at the ACGME pledge to use our experience and wisdom to work with the GME community to help, however we are able, to heal the nation after this time of tremendous grief and anxiety.”

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ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES

June 1, 2020: “For too long, racism has been an ugly, destructive mark on America’s soul. Throughout our country’s history, racism has affected every aspect of our collective national life—from education to opportunity, personal safety to community stability, to the health of people in our cities large and small, and in rural America. 

The AAMC stands against racism and hate in all its forms, and we call on academic medicine to stand together on this issue. We are committed to harnessing all of our resources to catalyze meaningful and lasting solutions. We can no longer be bystanders. We must not be silent. But while our solidarity is necessary, it is not sufficient. Together, and in partnership with the communities we serve, we must work together to heal our nation.”

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ASSOCIATION OF ACADEMIC PHYSIATRISTS

Black lives matter. Now more than ever, our collective actions are important to effect change. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others before them, have shone a light on centuries of injustice faced by the Black community in America. Acts of racism, violence and hate are unacceptable and must not be tolerated. The AAP stands against racism and discrimination, and our core values include the basic principles of human rights, justice, and dignity. 

We know that these words alone are not enough. In addition, although diversity, inclusion and equality have been among our guiding principles, re-affirmations of our actions and ongoing commitments are both essential. The AAP’s Board of Trustees has worked with AAP staff to expand and re-affirm our commitments, develop action items, and formalize our commitments to our membership. We hope that these important steps, as outlined below, help foster diversity, equity and inclusion in our association, the field of physiatry, the healthcare system, and society as a whole. 

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ASSOCIATION FOR ACADEMIC PSYCHIATRY

The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are a tragic reminder of the systemic racism and violence that people of color have suffered for centuries, and what has been ignored for far too long. As a community of academic psychiatrists, it is our duty as physicians to combat structural racism and the subsequent inequities in health care delivery and outcomes. As psychiatrists, we must address the trauma caused by racism and discrimination, and their adverse effects on mental health and well-being. We must incorporate these topics into our curricula, listen to our trainees and colleagues of color, and speak out against racist actions, attitudes, and biases. As academicians, we must educate our leaders, colleagues, and students about the detrimental effects of racism, and provide solutions on how to eliminate this “cancer” in our society.

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ASSOCIATION FOR ACADEMIC SURGERY

“On May 25, 2020, Mr. George Floyd lost his life in an unimaginable way. This event and so many others continue to highlight the ongoing and longstanding racial injustices across our nation and has left many of us feeling sad, angry, and unsure of how to move forward. “I can’t breathe!” is a call to action. Unraveling racism requires investment from all of us, not just minorities, and the Association for Academic Surgery is committed to doing this work. We hope our members will bring their voices to the conversation, as we work together to develop solutions and pledge to be a part of the change that is long overdue. For our members of color, who encounter and suffer racial inequities either inside or outside the hospital, please know we see you, we support you, and the AAS is here for you.”

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ASSOCIATION OF DIRECTORS OF MEDICAL STUDENT EDUCATION IN PSYCHIATRY

“The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the disproportionate toll that Covid-19 is wreaking on black communities have shone a light on our nation’s failings on issues of racial justice. ADMSEP Council joins with its members in condemning this racism that threatens the safety and well-being of people of color across the country, including our members, our students and the patients we serve.

As psychiatric educators training the doctors of tomorrow, we must incorporate the concepts of racism and other social determinants of health into our curricula. We must redouble our efforts to make our students aware of the deleterious effects of trauma, including racial trauma, and therapeutic approaches. We must ensure that we listen to the voices of our colleagues and students of color, stand with them in the fight against racism and support their career development. We must make ourselves aware of our own unconscious biases and recognize and address any mistreatment, including microaggressions (a coin termed by Black psychiatrist Chester Pierce), that we perpetrate or witness.”

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AMERICAN ACADEMY OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE

“In the wake of the latest police killing of an African American man in Minneapolis, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) joins those calling for reforms on the use of deadly force by law enforcement, the review of discriminatory practices, and justice for those whose lives have been taken as a result of racism targeting people of color.

In the loudest and strongest possible terms, we condemn these needless killings. Systemic racism and oppression targeting people of color must be addressed. The time is now; it is long overdue. AAEM and SAEM pledges, with a renewed sense of purpose, to champion equitable care for everyone in America, to train up just and compassionate emergency care providers, and to fight for a society that condemns racism and cherishes our rich diversity.”

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AMERICAN ACADEMY OF FAMILY PHYSICIANS

“The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply concerned about the prevalence of discriminatory and racist acts that are resulting in the unwarranted deaths and marginalization of people of color. Family physicians across the nation are grieving with and for their communities, and we join with our members in speaking out against all forms of institutional racism. What is happening in our communities today, and what has been happening in our country for decades, is unacceptable.

As a health care organization, the AAFP considers racism a public health crisis. It is incumbent upon all of us to engage in an honest discussion about how to ensure that health outcomes and personal safety are not determined by the color of a person’s skin.”

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AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY

In the past week, Americans engaged in peaceful protests have been blinded by the use of rubber bullets fired at the face.   

While classified as non-lethal, they are not non-blinding. These life-altering eye injuries are a common result of urban warfare, rioting and crowd dispersion. We have seen it around the world, and we now see it in the United States.  

Following numerous serious injuries in the past two weeks, the American Academy of Ophthalmology calls on domestic law enforcement officials to immediately end the use of rubber bullets to control or disperse crowds of protesters. The Academy asks physicians, public health officials and the public to condemn this practice.”

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY

“AAGP profoundly respects the essential worth of all individual people and cultures. Diversity, equality, and inclusion are core principles of AAGP. AAGP has worked hard to incorporate these values in all the work we do – in our leadership teams, our advocacy efforts, our residencies, and fellowships, and in the care we provide to the patients, families, and communities that we serve. The Black community is disproportionately affected by illness, lack of healthcare access, mortality, and more. The COVID-19 pandemic has been no different, as Black community members are again at higher risk of dying than many others in the United States. Living in fear of discrimination and violence directed towards them can have profound effects on mental health. This fear is part of a much broader reality that places all people of color at disproportionate risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, substance use disorders, and more. As an organization concerned with the mental health of all older people, we cannot and will not ignore this reality.”

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AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION

“When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.

Too many breaths have been lost – from George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more. The American Lung Association denounces all forms of institutional racism and acts of racial violence. What is happening in our communities today, and has happened for decades, is unacceptable.

As we join our fellow Americans to mourn for the loss of black lives, both from racial violence and the pandemic, we acknowledge how our humanity is linked, and that truly, every breath is precious. We stand ready to listen and work with individuals and organizations to create a more just world.”

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AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION

June 1, 2020: “The civil unrest taking place in America is a call to action to all Americans to address the longstanding racial inequalities facing the Black community,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Centuries of systemic and institutional racism toward Black Americans has led to decreased access to health care and multiple adverse health outcomes—as recently seen during the COVID-19 pandemic—in addition to anxiety and lower life-expectancy. We need to fight racial inequalities and discrimination that are life-threating to so many Black Americans. APA stands with the Black Community and all those opposed to racism to protect and improve the lives of the those who have experienced discrimination and the associated trauma.”

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AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION & NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

June 16, 2020: “The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the National Medical Association (NMA) stand together in expressing our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the family of George Floyd. His murder was a senseless act of violence that we forcefully condemn. Systemic racism is evident in America, as seen by police violence against Black Americans, including young children (Tamir Rice), those inside their own homes (Breonna Taylor), those shot in the back (Rayshard Brooks), as well as others involved in harmless acts (Eric Garner). Systemic racism is also apparent in the health disparities in Black communities as evidenced by their much higher mortality rates from COVID-19. We cannot and will not accept this.

As organizations whose members care for the underserved and ethnic minority patients, both the APA and NMA value and appreciate every life, seek to prevent harm, improve health outcomes, and eliminate senseless loss of life. Our professional credibility is grounded in ensuring that every person, regardless of their skin color, is respected and valued. We stand with the Black community and others who have been marginalized by police, the health care system, and society.”

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AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

May 29, 2020: “The AMA urges other leading health organizations to also take up the mantle of intolerance for police brutality and racism. We urge states to require the reporting of legal intervention deaths and law enforcement officer homicides to public health agencies. We urge health institutions and physician organizations to explicitly denounce police violence, particularly in times of COVID-19 and during other public health crises. We urge clinics, hospital and healthcare providers to review and reconsider their policies and relationships with law enforcement that may increase harm to patients and patient communities. We call for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and other such parties to study the public health effects of physical and verbal violence between law enforcement officers and public citizens, particularly within racially marginalized communities. We call for uniform training, transparency in reporting and accountability by law enforcement.”

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AMERICAN PSYCHOANALYTIC ASSOCIATION - AHMAUD ARBERY

May 11, 2020: “The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) warns that implicit bias and racism kills. APsaA decries the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man killed on February 23rd while jogging in a suburban neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia. Video footage of the event released to the public earlier last week led to outrage, protests, and demands for the arrests of the two white men seen pursuing and killing Mr. Arbery. (Neither were arrested until May 7th, more than two months after the murder and the day Arbery would have turned 26).”

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AMERICAN PSYCHOANALYTIC ASSOCIATION - RACISM

June 2, 2020“Following the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) calls for not only recognizing, but substantively addressing the profoundly destructive cycles of racial hatred, violence, and trauma in the United States. “As psychoanalysts, we know that only when trauma can be spoken about, when it is truly heard, can it be healed,” said William Glover, president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. “The current protests and unrest are communicating a denied pain stemming from centuries of racism which has never been properly listened to or addressed.” “We call on our leaders to express a sense of morality, fairness and commitment to equality, to publicly and explicitly denounce tragic and discriminatory acts when they occur,” said Glover. “But this civil unrest is a call to action for us all to listen, to speak out, and take concrete steps to address and reconcile our collective, longstanding, painful history with racism and racial violence.”

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AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

May 29, 2020: “We are living in a racism pandemic, which is taking a heavy psychological toll on our African American citizens. The health consequences are dire. Racism is associated with a host of psychological consequences, including depression, anxiety and other serious, sometimes debilitating conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Moreover, the stress caused by racism can contribute to the development of cardiovascular and other physical diseases.”

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AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS

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. As an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children, adolescents and young adults, it is in our mission as the American Academy of Pediatrics to fight all forms of racism,” Dr. Goza said. “We must dismantle racism at every level, from individual to institutional to systemic. Our nation did not get here overnight, and the road to progress and healing will be long and difficult, but the work we have before us is essential. Our children’s future will be built on these moments of reckoning.”

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AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NEUROLOGY

“The AAN’s Vision is to be indispensable to its members; our Mission is to promote the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care and enhance member career satisfaction. We cannot be indispensable if we remain silent in the face of an issue that so profoundly impacts so many of our members. We cannot promote the best care for our patients or enhance the careers of our members if we ignore the pervasive inequities that are often insurmountable barriers to both. In the face of these historic and systemic issues, it is not enough to not be a racist organization. We must speak out and lead in order to ensure change. To achieve our Vision and Mission, we must be an anti-racist organization. The AAN commits to enact sustained change for our members and patients. In this historic moment, we are resolved to pursue bold action beyond rhetoric and stand with the communities we serve to eliminate inequities that are antithetical to our values and the pursuit of our Vision and Mission.”

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE SURGERY OF TRAUMA

“As surgeons, our duty by oath is to care for all who are sick and injured. Racism is a form of structural violence and a public health issue that is especially harmful to our Black and Brown communities. AAST stands against any and all forms of racism, violence, intolerance, and discrimination. We will continue to support our patients, fellows, and associates by using our voices to amplify and support the health and safety of all races, ethnicities, classifications, and self-identification. We encourage you to listen to your patients, fellow members, and coworkers’ experiences during this time and to continue to offer them your support. As an organization, we call on our members to continue our mission to improve the quality of care for EVERY patient by advancing our field through compassion, discovery, and dedication.”

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF DIRECTORS OF PSYCHIATRIC RESIDENCY TRAINING

“It is hard to fathom where our country is today. For far too long, communities of color have endured unimaginable atrocities. The brutal murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, all carried out with apparent immunity, provides a painful reminder of the limited value our society continues to place on black lives. The stories have become all too familiar. They shed light on the world of racism and danger communities of color face every day. In the year ahead, we are looking forward to identifying opportunities to translate these guiding principles into specific actions. As an organization, AADPRT has made significant progress. At the same time there is a lot of work to do. Addressing racism demands that we call out violence and condemn police brutality. It will also require examining the cultural drivers that reinforce racism and white privilege in our own communities. As educators overseeing the training of future psychiatrists, it is critical that we identify concrete ways to combat health disparities and provide culturally appropriate mental health care to all communities. As academic leaders in positions of influence, we have an obligation to raise awareness about systemic racism. We cannot stay silent.”

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGEONS & CONGRESS OF NEUROLOGICAL SURGEONS

“As a profession, we in neurosurgery aim to promote the highest quality of patient care and advance the specialty of neurosurgery and neurosurgical education while espousing the values of integrity, leadership, excellence, and professionalism. As organizations and as a profession, we are committed to inclusion and diversity within our neurosurgical community. As neurosurgeons, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care to all segments of our society. Indeed, our principles are only relevant to the extent they apply to the most disadvantaged in our society. As principled health care professionals, it is imperative to stand against all forms of discrimination and acts of violence — particularly that which is driven by intolerance and hatred. We encourage you all to engage your patients, your colleagues and your communities in discussions as to how we can help heal our country and care for all who need us, including our most vulnerable.”

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AMERICAN BOARD OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE

“ABEM condemns the social injustice of systemic racism and any form of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Addressing racism and prejudice are critical to ABEM’s achievement of its mission to ensure the highest standards in the specialty of Emergency Medicine. ABEM strongly stands with emergency physicians who care for ALL who enter an emergency department regardless of their race and ethnicity. ABEM strongly stands with members of the public who work to address the underlying social disparities that impact the health and care of our communities, especially our communities of color.” 

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AMERICAN BOARD OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY

“The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) stands in solidarity with our health care community in opposition to the institutional racism, discrimination and violence that has plagued the country for so long. We mourn the death of George Floyd and others who have fallen at the hands of injustice and intolerance. The bias and discrimination present in our society makes its way into health care setting as well, hurting vulnerable populations, particularly minority communities. Underrepresented minorities continue to experience disproportionately high mortality related to childbirth, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and now from the COVID pandemic. Racism and discrimination in any setting — whether health care, law enforcement, or any other — is unacceptable. Like other members of our Obstetrics and Gynecology and women’s health community, we are committed to the conversations and actions needed to bring about much needed change and equity.”

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY, ASSOCIATION OF BLACK CARDIOLOGISTS, & THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION

“The ACC has joined with the Association of Black Cardiologists and the American Heart Association to denounce the “incidents of racism and violence” that continue to ravage communities across the U.S. “Like cardiovascular disease, acts of violence and racism are core causes of psychosocial stress that promote poor well-being and cardiovascular health, especially for communities of color,” the letter states. The letter goes on to highlight the ongoing work of ABC, ACC, AHA and others in addressing cardiovascular disparities in our communities, and notes “the unprecedented opportunity to address these issues through policy and by working with affected communities and the health care providers who serve them.”

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AMERICAN COLLEGE OF GASTROENTEROLOGY, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF LIVER DISEASES, AMERICAN GASTROENTEROLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, & AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR GASTROINTESTINAL ENDOSCOPY

“As healthcare providers, we have dedicated our lives to caring for our fellow human beings. Therefore, we are compelled to speak out against any treatment that results in unacceptable disparities that marginalize the vulnerable among us. As leaders of the four GI societies, AASLD, ACG, AGA, and ASGE, we stand united in condemning racism, bigotry and discrimination based on race, religion, gender, country of origin and sexual orientation. There is also a deeper pain that racism, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, has revealed. COVID-19 has disproportionately harmed the health of many underserved communities. We realize, as a profession, that we need to better understand the effects of structural racism on health inequities. With this in mind, we pledge to continue to advocate for diversity in our staff and governance, grant awards to research health care disparities, ensure quality care for all, and work tirelessly to reduce inequalities in health care delivery and access.”

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AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS

“ACOG is an organization committed to inclusion and equity. We condemn racism and discrimination in any form, including in systems such as law enforcement and health care. As the nation’s leading organization of physicians dedicated to women’s health, we know that words are not enough. Together, we must work for meaningful change. With respect to our specialty, the unacceptable racial inequity in the delivery of health care led us this past fall to launch our Commitment to Changing the Culture of Medicine and Eliminating Racial Disparities in Women’s Health Outcomes. Our work spans clinical, advocacy, and policy contexts and, importantly, requires self-reflection and examination of our own biases and prejudices so that we can then address them. We are grateful for the opportunity to listen to, collaborate with, and lift up the critical work of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, SisterSong, the Shades of Blue Project, and many others working for racial justice. We are also grateful to the ACOG members who have been part of this work for many years in their communities.”

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AMERICAN COLLEGE OF NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY

“The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) is a professional, international organization dedicated to advancing understanding of the brain and the root causes of brain disorders, particularly mental illness. Our  mission statement states that we “promote and recognize principles of fairness, equity, and social justice” in science and society. To that end, we stand with many other scientific and professional organizations in condemning any and all systemic racism and racial disparities. These critical scientific and public health issues require immediate societal attention and policy solutions. Over-policing and other forms of systemic racism towards communities of color harm every American and stain the claim that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are basic rights of all Americans. It is time for change, and the scientific community must be part of that change.”

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AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS

“African-Americans and other minorities are subject to prejudice and discrimination in our society that has an immense negative impact on their health. 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. Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have access to health care than people who are white. Further, even when controlling for issues with access to care they tend to receive poorer quality care. We know that prejudice, discrimination, and violence disproportionately harm the health and well-being of racial and ethnic communities. The American College of Physicians is committed to combatting racial disparities that affect health and health care. This includes fighting the prejudice at the root of the problem, as well as the discrimination, inequities, violence and hate crimes that result from that prejudice. Racial disparities, discrimination, harassment and violence are public health issues. Evidence-based solutions are needed to combat the stressors that disproportionately harm racial and ethnic communities.”

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AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RHEUMATOLOGY

“The American College of Rheumatology is deeply troubled by the recent events surrounding the death of George Floyd. This tragedy is the latest in a long history of senseless killings of people of color. We recognize that racial inequality is an invisible undercurrent impacting the lives of many of our members and patients and we condemn all acts that cause marginalization, discrimination, harm or death to any person. From lupus mortality, to arthritis disability, and most recently to COVID-19 deaths, our minority communities have suffered disproportionately. As physicians and healthcare professionals, we are bound to protect the health of all of humanity. The American College of Rheumatology pledges to be a leader for inclusion and change for our members, our trainees, our staff and our patients.”

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AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS

“Recent events across the country have significantly impacted us all, particularly Fellows who are members of Black and Brown communities.

The ACS stands in solidarity against racism, violence, and intolerance. Our mission is to serve all with skill and fidelity, and that extends beyond the operating room. 

Racism, brutal attacks, and subsequent violence must end. We will help any injured, and we will use our voice in support of the health and safety of every person.”

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AMERICAN EPILEPSY SOCIETY

“A heartbreaking pattern of social justice failures, coupled with COVID-19’s consequences, has appropriately put the disparities in our nation’s healthcare system and larger culture under a worldwide spotlight. These disparities account for a disproportionate disease impact among African Americans and other non-white populations. We must commit to a future in which healthcare inequities are addressed and eliminated. Achieving this goal requires hard work. 

The American Epilepsy Society reaffirms our commitment to performing this work in the pursuit of solutions. We embrace our responsibility as a medical and scientific society to include the full range of issues that impact patient outcomes, notably the special needs of underserved populations and supporting the continued development of a diverse healthcare workforce.”

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AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC ASSOCIATION

“The American Osteopathic Association wishes to publicly express our profound sadness in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, and we firmly stand with all who are impacted by systemic racism and inequality. In addition to recognizing the personal loss for Mr. Floyd’s family and loved ones, we mourn the stark reality that overt racism, unfortunately, still exists within our nation. We embrace the belief that all aspects of an individual, including but not limited to race, contribute to the whole person and should never result in disadvantage or infliction of harm. We are hopeful that through this tragedy, meaningful and necessary social reform can and will occur, and we are uplifted by the peaceful protests uniting all races and ethnicities in support of equality and justice. At the same time, we are deeply disappointed that the criminal actions of the few have, in part, overshadowed the lawful and righteous efforts of peaceful protestors across our nation. Our hearts are heavy, but our will is strong. The osteopathic community will continue working on the front lines to help heal the nation and look to a brighter future.”

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BLACK PSYCHIATRISTS OF AMERICA

June 3, 2020: “The Black Psychiatrists of America (BPA) condemns all acts of racism and police brutality, especially those that lead to the systemic oppression and murder of countless Black people who are not given the opportunity for true justice in this country. Today, there are two life-threatening pandemics occurring in America at this time, COVID-19 and racism. One, racism, preceded the other but, both are killing Black people at alarming and disproportionate rates. The Black Psychiatrists of America believes that a change is long overdue and must come sooner rather than later. Being Black in America should not be hazardous to your health. It is time that our country addresses these inequalities and hold these police officers (and any other citizen) accountable for the repeated hate crimes toward Black Americans. Fifty-one years ago, the Black Psychiatrists of America was founded in response to the failed response from the European model psychiatric system in America, to fight against racism, marginalization, and other forms of racial discrimination against Black people. We will continue to fight for an end to these acts of racism that threaten the health of our community and all other areas of life for Blacks in America.”

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BLACK NEUROSURGEONS

“Most recently, in the setting of continued efforts to respond to COVID-19 as a widespread and global pandemic, the nation has been rocked by the brutal murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a White police officer in the audience of the public and other police officers representing the Minneapolis Police Department. Our hearts and minds are also heavy with thoughts of those who have recently lost their lives, like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, who are part of a long list dating back to and before the murders of Michael Brown in 2014 and Eric Garner in 2016. The cries of outrage reflected in the most recent days of protest and unrest reflect another insidious pandemic of grave public health consequence we have yet to curtail or respond to as a society at large. Speaking as Black constituents within the field of neurosurgery, we are in the unique position to speak up and against cyclical and imminent public health threats to the Black community, fiercely and persistently. We are adding our voices in solidarity with medical institutions like the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), National Medical Association (NMA), American Medical Association (AMA), and American Heart Association (AHA), that assert excessive use of police force and violence is a public health issue.”

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COLLECTIVE BLACK PHYSICIANS

“As Black physicians in the U.S., we take our professional responsibilities and duties seriously. We want to ensure that the preliminary autopsy findings released in the criminal complaint are appropriately explained to the public who may have limited understanding of medical terminology and practices. Trivial error or misinterpretation of medical information can have devastating consequences. We reject conclusions drawn from the preliminary autopsy findings. Again, we assert that the most probable cause of death of Mr. George Floyd was the physical occlusion of his airway, decreased blood flow and oxygen delivery to his brain, and restricted ventilation, all due to the physical restraint aided by Officers Chauvin, Lane and Kueng of the Minnesota Police Department. We will continue to scrutinize the medicolegal documents presented in this case to ensure that ethical and unbiased information has been collected independently from law enforcement, prosecutors, and media. Mr. George Floyd, like any other American citizen, deserves justice.”

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EMERGENCY MEDICINE RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

“Racism is a social determinant of health, and it is our job as emergency medicine physicians-in-training to combat this, no different than giving insulin in DKA or buprenorphine in opioid withdrawal. “The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist’.”1 We must not be silent, for silence is complacency. EMRA’s mission is to be the voice of emergency medicine physicians-in-training and the future of our specialty. Let’s use our voices — to call out racism and hold people accountable; to vote for anti-racist leaders on every election ballot we can get our hands on; to advocate for policy change, whether at a hospital, state, or federal level. While solutions can feel unattainable in the wake of anger, fear, and sadness, we all have the ability to start somewhere.”

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NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

May 27, 2020: “The National Medical Association (NMA) extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Floyd. The killing of George Floyd is another reminder of the lingering effects of institutional racism in many communities throughout these United States. The conduct of these police officers is reprehensible and requires a full criminal and administrative investigation. The NMA calls for comprehensive reform in response to police use of excessive force.”

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NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS

May 28, 2020: “The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) strongly condemns the continued death of unarmed people who are African American at the hands of police. We renew our call for the nation to adopt policing reforms to address this crisis. And we offer our condolences to the families of the people who have died. NASW over the years has been very vocal in calling for reforms of police use of force laws. We have joined with other national organizations to ensure that it be mandatory that police wear body cameras, and that cameras be turned on during encounters with people suspected of crimes. However, it is clear that these efforts have only brought modest success in addressing excessive and lethal use of force by police. It is equally clear that before America can end racial disparities in use of force, there must be a change in police culture. Police departments must root out the many officers who continue to view Black lives as being less valuable than that of other Americans. NASW will continue to fight for that cultural change.”

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NATIONAL NURSES UNITED

“In the wake of the latest police killing of an African American man in Minneapolis, National Nurses United joins those calling for systemic reform on the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies, and increased review of discriminatory practices that infer a racial bias. At its NNU Convention delegates in 2018, NNU members cited “the pervasive problems of racial, economic, and social injustice that have so stained our nation and undermined the promise of democracy” and re-emphasized that “as nurses, we are dedicated to prevent all forms of illness, protect health, and alleviate human suffering.” The resolution pledged NNU to continue to champion “patient advocacy beyond the bedside” by partnering with organizations and communities of color as part of our work to build a wider movement that will fight for a society that cherishes and celebrates our rich diversity.”

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PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM

“The horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked protests nationwide. Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), an organization of more than 23,000 doctors who support Medicare for All, denounces police brutality and racism in all forms; demands immediate steps to ensure racial justice at all levels of government; and calls for racism and racial health inequity to be treated as public health emergencies. PNHP is committed to fighting all forms of racial inequity, including the structural racism that puts Black people at substantially higher risk of police violence and incarceration, and a broken health care system that denies patients of color the right to health and health care.” 

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SOCIETY FOR MATERNAL FETAL MEDICINE

“The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recognizes the impact of racism and is committed to working towards the elimination of the racism and health inequities that impact our members and the patients they serve. Our Society members are tremendously affected by these events. We are persons of color, married or in loving relationships with, parent, employ or work with persons of color. In our offices and hospitals, we provide healthcare for persons of color. Racism is a public health crisis. We cannot eliminate health disparities and health inequities without removing racism. Racism is entangled into the policies of our country, and unless we acknowledge that fact, we cannot move towards a solution.”

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SOCIETY FOR NEUROONCOLOGY

“Systemic racism is America’s original sin with long-reaching societal consequences that impact education, housing and health care, where bias leads to disparities in treatment and survival of Black, Latinx, and Native populations in the United States. We’ve seen this most recently with outcomes with the COVID pandemic, as well as differences in care across multiple medical subspecialties, including neuro-oncology. Earlier this year, the Women and Diversity Committee was formed to advance the careers of women and minority clinicians, investigators and trainees through education and mentorship, and develop strategies to ensure underrepresented and vulnerable populations receive equitable care and access to clinical trials. While the formation of this committee is a necessary initial step, it is not enough. We need to do much more to fight against racism.”

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WASHINGTON BALTIMORE CENTER FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS

“The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are terrible reminders of the persistent, dehumanizing effects of systemic racism and bigotry in our country. This is not simply the result of “bad apples” in police departments but of racism that is embedded in our institutions and can no longer be ignored. Psychoanalytic approaches to group dynamics teach us that silent bystanders are not innocent bystanders, and we, at the WBCP, regret the extent to which our previous silence has made us complicit with the horrors to which we now react. We acknowledge our complicity, and we dedicate ourselves to finding a different path, consistent with the values of diversity and equal rights that we have consciously held and espoused. We commit ourselves to new dialogues and new understandings aimed at dismantling the structures of racism in our own institution, our communities, and the country at large. We are also obligated to bring our voices and understanding of unconscious motivation, trauma, roots of violence (including that perpetrated by the state), and group dynamics to these conversations and to join with other organizations and fellow citizens to bring about lasting social change.”

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WOMEN IN ANESTHESIOLOGY

“We denounce the acts of overt violence against the black community. We also recognize the acts that occur daily in subtle, tiresome ways through callous, offhand remarks or through the silence of colleagues and leaders during states of crisis such as this. As an organization founded by, counseled by, and in service to people of color, we stand in solidarity against racism in all its forms. We stand firmly against racial discrimination through individual actions or institutional policies. We forge onward to seek equity at work and at home for women anesthesiologists, our patients, and our communities near and far.”
 

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WOMEN OF COLOR IN PHARMA

“Along with a significant portion of the world, the Women of Color in Pharma community expresses profound grief and our deepest condolences to the families and friends mourning the loss of their loved ones to police brutality. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are the most recent in centuries of killings of Black men and women that appear to be racially motivated and need to stop. WOCIP strongly opposes the continuous threat and harm to Black lives and supports peaceful efforts to implement solutions in our communities and workplaces. The protests unraveling globally are a testament to the collective outrage, pain and exhaustion many are feeling. While we do not condone uncivil/violent actions, it is imperative to outline immediate steps that can be taken to peacefully eradicate racial injustice and drive change.”
 

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