Black people know that race affects every aspect of our lives whether we want it to or not. We are more likely to experience job and housing discrimination as well as be victims of police brutality. This disparity is also true when it comes to healthcare—something the Academy of American Pediatrics is working to eradicate. In an announcement Monday, the group stated that is starting to get rid of policies and guidelines that are “race-based”—which is just a strategic way of saying racist.
The academy began its review before the murder of George Floyd in 2020. However, the examination deepened shortly after. Joseph Wright, the doctor who has led the new policy, has been candid about the necessity of this review. “Before we can legitimately address systemic and structural inequities in health care we must first recognize that they exist and are a byproduct of deeply ingrained societal racism,” Wright said in a statement.
“Social determinants of health need to be carefully considered in the development of care delivery strategies including factors embedded in broad categories such as access, the physical environmental and community supports. Evidence informed incorporation of these factors is vital in all areas of medicine.”
Over the last several years, other major doctor groups including the American Medical Association have taken similar initiatives. One of the most notable catalysts has been recent social justice and civil rights movements. Last year, the academy dismissed a guideline calculation based on the discriminatory belief that Black children faced lower risks than their white peers for urinary infections.
Ultimately, a review had shown that the most prominent risk factors were prior urinary infections and fevers lasting more than 48 hours. In short, it had nothing to do with race. A revision to the academy’s newborn jaundice guidance — which implies certain races have higher and lower risks — is planned for this summer.