Press Release: Oregon Family Physicians Call For End To Systemic Racism As A Public Health Crisis

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“The Oregon Academy of Family Physicians joins our colleagues across the country and around the world in raising our voices to condemn discriminatory and racist acts and systems that lead to the unwarranted deaths and marginalization of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We grieve with and for our patients and their communities, and we recommit to fight all forms of institutional racism. These unacceptable acts of racially-motivated discrimination and violence are too common in our communities today, and have been too common in our country since its founding. 

“We are physicians, and in our practices every day, we see the public health crisis that racism has created. It is manifest in our patients who too often live with chronic trauma, and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, low birth weight, premature birth and infant mortality. The elimination of these and other health disparities cannot be achieved without first acknowledging how racism drives health and social inequalities. We continue to fight for equal access to quality health care services for everyone, without exception. 

“We support family physicians in their efforts to actively dismantle racist and discriminatory institutional practices in their communities. The OAFP is focused on building on the important work of the AAFP, which established the Center for Diversity and Health Equity in 2017 to empower all family physicians to take action and confront health disparities head on. We are committed to continual education on these issues to help our members take ever-better care of their patients and communities. Through our policy-making, our advocacy and through our work in coalition, we will use our organization’s platform and voice to advance the cause of equity and take action against racial injustice. 

“Calls from some leaders to respond to the public outcry that wracks so many communities in these difficult days with more force, with no mercy, are wrongheaded and must be condemned. We join the call for an end to discriminatory policing, and an end to the use of excessive force which pose particular health and safety hazards to individuals and populations residing in targeted communities, for people of color and other socially marginalized groups. 

“Family physicians must take our place in the difficult work ahead, as we forge a society where health outcomes and personal safety are not determined by the color of a person’s skin.” 

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