Clinic executive resigns, citing racism at Seattle Children's

Ben Danielson, MD, resigned as the medical director of one of Seattle Children's clinics because of institutional racism at the hospital, he said Dec. 31, according to the Seattle Times.

Dr. Danielson told Crosscut he was a rare Black voice in a position of authority at the health system. He resigned in November after more than 20 years leading the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic in Seattle. 

He stepped down after Seattle Children's leaders failed to address issues such as calling security against patients of color and a lack of translation services. Dr. Danielson contends a person who used a racist term to refer to him several years earlier remains a front-facing member of the hospital's team, according to Crosscut

"I have privilege enough that I should be somebody who says, 'This is not okay,'" Dr. Danielson told Crosscut. "I'm privileged enough to know that this children's hospital is not a unique organization, that these are all the same kinds of ills that many institutions have baked into their systems. And I understand that whatever I whine about personally and experiences I've had around leaders using hate speech and racial language relating to me, the experiences of low-income people of color are still miles worse than anything I experienced."

Seattle Children's released the following statement to Crosscut regarding Dr. Danielson's claims. 

"While some of the claims made were investigated a decade ago, we are examining the issues raised," a spokesperson said. "As an organization we are committed to racial equity, diversity and inclusion while also holding ourselves accountable and continuing to do the work required to address systemic racism when and where it exists. We are deeply committed to our OBCC community and looking forward to increasing access to its services through the expansion of our second OBCC clinic later next year."

Read the full Crosscut article here

Read the full Seattle Times article here

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