Last week, many of us were shocked to see the images coming out of Minneapolis, showing the senseless death of George Floyd. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Americans have spoken out against this episode of violence and raised awareness of the presence of widespread racism in our country. Protests have occurred across the US and within our state of Pennsylvania. As an organization, we grieve with our colleagues, patients, friends, and family who have been the victims of racist acts, including those whose experiences were not witnessed, or captured on a cell phone, and who kept silent about the injustices they endured.
Unfortunately, racial issues are not new. As an organization, we unequivocally believe that racism in any form is not to be tolerated…EVER. As providers, devoted to the health and welfare of all in our community, we must advocate for each of our patients and against hate and discrimination. As educators, it is our responsibility to continue to train the next generation of PAs regarding health disparities in all forms and to work to eliminate personal biases that might jeopardize the provision of the best care possible for each and every patient. As friends and family, we must reach out to those who are hurting, speak up for the voiceless, and support those on whom some in society have turned their backs. In the words of Abhijit Naskar, “Color doesn’t define character, culture doesn’t define character, creed doesn’t define character, only conduct does.” When our children look back on this era in history, they will define our character based on our response and our actions.
If you are interested in learning more on these topics, here are some resources that you may find helpful:
Advancing Health Equities Series (from Optum Health) – https://www.optumhealtheducation.com/wellness/advancing-health-equity?fbclid=IwAR24PWkVSxqTD5g8BHUFnp7KKD1EQjqLSJk8Jeci0tE58F2UlCldliIv9qk#group-tabs-node-course-default1
Racism and Its Impact on Health and Wellbeing (from Seattle Children’s) – https://www.seattlechildrens.org/healthcare-professionals/education/grand-rounds/online/racism-impacts-health-well-being/?fbclid=IwAR1B1WH297FMVrsWb2N33t0wBlq-31h8PidE4h4BXgb9yQCdS20suFNb3pc
A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care (despite the name, this course is also designed for PAs as well!) – https://cccm.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/default.asp
Physician Assistants for Health Equity – http://stop-disparities.org/PAHE-RESOURCE.html