Taking a public stand for social justice

My heart is broken after the recent events and the loss of George Floyd’s life in Minneapolis, my beloved home over the last couple of years, along with many other recent tragedies that highlight the racial injustices in the United States. Like many, I hope that these events will lead to fundamental changes and improvements in our society.

I admire the institutions, organizations, companies, leaders, and my colleagues who are making public statements in support of efforts to lead to social justice. I think that it is important to acknowledge that as a society, we are now expecting many organizations, institutions, companies, and leaders (political, academic, organizational, etc.) to take a public stand against racism, a topic that many organizations and businesses previously shied away from making public comments on. This is a positive shift in our culture. One of the initial ways to lead to long-lasting change is to acknowledge that there is a problem. My home institution, the University of Minnesota was quick to make a public statement condemning racism and social injustices after George Floyd’s death. As researchers and healthcare providers, we know that there are health inequities, magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic which my fellow AHA blogger, Dr. Anika Hines (@DrAnikaLHines) recently discussed.

Furthermore, as healthcare providers and researchers, we are often leaders in our communities and are able to provide a voice to those who are disadvantaged. Another fellow blogger, Dr. Elizabeth Knight (@TheKnightNurse) recently wrote about the importance of advocacy by healthcare providers. Racism and social inequalities are public health issues. Many organizations that we are a part of have made public statements for social justice. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have made a joint statement with the Association of Black Cardiologists against racism and social inequities. Similarly, the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges have also made public statements condemning racism and advocating for change. Additionally, many healthcare providers across the country have kneeled and protested for #WhiteCoatsforBlackLives over the last couple of days. When the organizations and institutions that we are a part of take a public stand against racism and social injustices, we then feel supported in our efforts.

I encourage trainees to pay attention to which organizations and institutions are making statements against racism and social injustices and are committed to making changes.

Be an active ally. Listen and learn. Be kind. Be safe.

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