Letter to the Editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune submitted 6/10/2020
As Minnesotans process the death of George Floyd, the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians stands firmly with all the hurting communities that we serve. When emergency physicians hear the words “I can’t breathe,” it is an urgent signal for us to act. Although it is too late to save the life of George Floyd, we must act now to address systemic racism and its impact on the health of people in the communities where we live and work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color, and in the midst of one crisis, another has gripped our nation. We are aware that this crisis is not new for communities of color, however recent events have forced everyone to confront that systemic racism has always been present in the health care system. Indeed, as race is a social determinant of health, systemic racism is a public health crisis.
Minnesota ranks as one of the worst in the country in racial inequities, and emergency physicians recognize a long-overdue opportunity to be positive agents for change. We, as emergency physicians, are held to the oath we take to preserve life. To fully realize that promise, we must take more meaningful steps to promote health equity in our communities.
Minnesota’s emergency physicians pledge to help develop and implement real solutions to use our collective platform to address systemic racism. We pledge to be accountable to our communities that we care for every day and to do what it takes to make emergency care equitable and accessible for all.