We, as an emergency medicine program in the heart of Washington, DC are incredibly disheartened by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other innocent Black lives lost to the plight of systemic racism in our country. We are privileged to provide care to people from all over the world. We recognize that our communities face overt racism, social injustice, and implicit bias everyday which consequently permeates the healthcare system. We know that this is not a new issue. We recognize that racism is a social determinant of health and the consequences of racism affect all aspects of life and are working to change this as a residency program and as an emergency department. We aim to identify our own implicit bias and the impact these biases have on our patients’ lives, and are working to make sustainable changes in our clinical practice. We consider it fundamental to our duty as leaders, teachers, healthcare workers and professionals to fervently address and extinguish the health inequities that lead to increased morbidity and mortality within our patient population.
In addition to participating in School of Medicine and Health Science’s Antiracism Coalition (ARC) led by our very own EM physician, Dean Yolanda Haywood, we are working internally to become an anti-racist residency program. Strategies to improve this include training on recognizing and responding to racism and bias, integrating health equity topics into our longitudinal curriculum, and re-evaluating our recruitment process to identify and address barriers for underrepresented minorities. We are expanding elective and mentorship opportunities for residents and medical students. We are also continuing to expand our community engagement committee and adding a required service-learning component to the program. We welcome this opportunity to learn, grow and foster an equitable and antiracist environment for our patients and colleagues.