The American Medical Association Classifies Racism As A Threat To Health

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced Monday (November 16) that racism is considered a threat to public health. 

The Association created a pledge to “take action against racism and police brutality” back in June in response to the global uprisings surrounding the murder of George Floyd

Since then, the AMA has been working to put action behind its pledge. With this new classification, the AMA built recommendations about mitigating racism’s effects on health by addressing root causes and acknowledging the problem at hand. 

AMA Board Member Willarda V. Edwards said, “The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities. Without systemic and structural-level change, health inequities will continue to exist, and the overall health of the nation will suffer.” 

News of the announcement received great praise from social media users.

According to a news release, the classification comes with a new policy adopted by The Association that includes: 

  • An acknowledgement of systemic and structural racism, 
  • Recognition of racism as a barrier to health access, 
  • Recommendations for government agencies to increase funding for research on racism’s impact on health, and 
  • An evaluation of medical education such that the effects of racism are taught in curricula. 

The AMA will continue its work by building a set of best practices for practitioners and healthcare institutions to follow as they care for patients. 

They also committed to examining bias in healthcare technology and recognizing race as a social construct to end the practice of using race solely as an explanation for genetics and biology. 

This effort by the AMA has the potential to open up greater pathways of understanding and addressing systemic and institutional racism with the hopes of creating access to quality, competent care. 

Photo: Getty Images

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