We are an organization dedicated to the best possible outcomes for all members of our community. We are devastated that Black Americans continue to be hurt and even killed by the systems in our country that should serve and protect everyone equally.
George Floyd’s horrible death is the latest in a long line of those killed as a result of systemic racism, including Charleena Lyles, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and so many others.
That this violence occurred during the midst of a pandemic that is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, both in terms of the virus itself and its economic fall-out, is further evidence of systemic racism. It is the responsibility of all of us, especially those of us in leadership, to work to break down institutional racism. To be successful, we must each work in big and small ways to fight racism in our organizations and ourselves.
We are keenly aware that injustice and bias exists in the health care system. Data shows that health care treatment and outcomes vary by race. Hospitals and health systems have a responsibility to actively combat implicit bias and change those outcomes.
WSHA is working on specific areas where Black lives have historically been devalued within the health care system, including infant and maternal mortality. We’ve seen that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color. We are using our voice to ensure that equity is a key metric used in the distribution of COVID treatments including ventilators, remdesevir and, hopefully in the near future, a vaccine. We also have worked to provide personal protective equipment to essential workers outside the hospital setting, many of whom are people of color, including transit drivers and shelter workers.
We have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the current and historical impacts of structural racism. Here are two of the resources WSHA is utilizing in our work. We’re committed to continuing this work and striving to do better. We also welcome input and education from our community.
- Roadmap to Reduce Disparities, a six-step framework for health care organizations to improve health in communities of color and foster equity; and
- Equity of Care: A Toolkit for Eliminating Health Care Disparities, a toolkit from the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity for eliminating health care disparities.
We hope you will join us in this work. These are small steps in a much larger fight that we as an organization are dedicated to.