US pediatricians' group to cast aside race-based guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for the elimination of race-based medicine in any form and recognizing race as a "historically derived social construct that has no place as a biologic proxy," according to its new policy statement released May 2. 

 

Joseph Wright, MD, is lead author of the policy statement, "Eliminating Race-Based Medicine." Dr. Wright also serves as chief health equity officer of the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore.

"This effort calls for acknowledging the impact that differential lived experiences have on individual and population health outcomes through a race-conscious health equity lens rather than through approaches that have inappropriately identified skin color as an independent, risk-adjusting variable," Dr. Wright said. 

As part of the policy, the AAP will critically examine, deconstruct, retire or revise all practice guidelines and policies that include race assignment as a part of clinical decision-making. It also recommends professional organizations and medical societies "identify and critically examine organizational policies and practice guidelines that may incorporate race or ethnicity as independent variables or modifying factors."

The AAP will also leverage relationships with medical schools, academic health systems, schools of medicine and accrediting bodies to ensure health equity curricular content, including a focus on the elimination of race-based medicine. It will seek to reframe appropriate social determinants of health measures.

The AAP will also ensure all its authors, editors, presenters, media spokespersons and other content contributors recognize race as a social construct only. 

"The evolution of modern medicine has produced incredible advancements and accomplishments in healthcare," Dr. Wright said. "But we must acknowledge and address the stark inequities that persist in leaving vulnerable populations behind. We are better than this. Now is the time for change."

 

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