Medical Group To Eliminate Race-Based Guidance On Children's Health

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A premier medical group for children says it's working to stem health disparities by taking a look at its own recommendations and guidelines.

The Academy of Pediatrics announced Monday (May 2) that it is planning to closely examine and eliminate "race-based" treatment guidance. The re-examination launched before the murder of George Floyd but intensified after as doctors worried that Black children were being overlooked and undertreated in pediatric care, Dr. Joseph Wright, the policy's author told NBC News.

For years, pediatricians have wrongly linked race as a risk factor for newborn jaundice and even child urinary tract infections. With the new policy, those guidelines would be removed from the Academy's treatment recommendations, educational materials, textbooks, and more for practicing pediatricians across the country.

"We are really being much more rigorous about the ways in which we assess risk for disease and health outcomes," Wright said. "We do have to hold ourselves accountable in that way. It's going to require a heavy lift."

The Academy of Pediatrics isn't the only medical group who've launched similar action plans. The American Medical Association similarly announced the launch of a reexamination of its recommendations after taking into consideration the roles that social conditions and genetics play in determining health outcomes. The Association along with the CDC also named racism a public health issue.

"What makes this so monumental is the fact that this is a medical institution and it's not just words. They're acting," Dr. Brittani James, a Chicago-based family medicine doctor, said of the Academy's plan.

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