Kaiser Permanente exec's 5 steps to address systemic racism

Racial bias and systemic racism have created a public health crisis that needs to be addressed immediately, according to Kaiser Permanente executive Ruth Williams-Brinkley, RN.

In a July 9 Daily Record column, Ms. Williams-Brinkley, regional president of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, explained there are many health disparities between Black and white Americans and that "implicit bias among healthcare providers often prevents Black patients from accessing the best care or even obtaining appropriate treatments."

She also noted the environmental and social drivers of health, such as poverty and lack of access to healthy food, that impact Black Americans, as well as the deaths of Black Americans, including George Floyd, that "highlight racial inequities in law enforcement."

"Whether intentionally or implicitly, racial bias and systemic racism in our society have created a public health crisis that commands our attention — and our immediate action," Ms. Williams-Brinkley wrote.

She recommended five steps for medical professionals to take to address systemic racism and improve public health:

1. Identify biases in patient care.

2. Train staff "to deliver more culturally competent, patient-centered care."

3. Support health outside of the healthcare setting.

4. Help replace or change harmful policies.

5. Have discussions and use the information learned to help address barriers in healthcare and communities.

Read the full column here


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