Racism is a public health threat, AMA says

The American Medical Association is officially recognizing racism as a public health threat via a policy adopted Nov. 16 at a special meeting of its House of Delegates. 

The new policy recognizes that systemic, cultural and interpersonal racism severely impedes efforts to improve public health, health equity and access to care in the U.S. 

The medical association has vowed to address racism through the following actions:

  • Acknowledge the harm caused by racism and unconscious bias within medical research and healthcare
  • Identify tactics to counter racism and mitigate its health effects
  • Encourage medical education curricula to promote a greater understanding of the topic
  • Support external policy development and funding to research racism’s health risks
  • Work to prevent influences of racism and bias in health technology innovation

"The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities. Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer," AMA board member Willarda Edwards, MD, said in a news release. "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."

To learn more, click here.

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