The American Medical Association (AMA) has voted to recognize racism as an “urgent threat to public health” and have pledged to “actively work on dismantling racist policies and practices in health care.”
The AMA represents tens of thousand of doctors.
The move had left some applauding the decision, while others were left alarmed.
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RT reports: The new policy rules, adopted on Monday, are aimed at combating racist policies and practices across all US healthcare, according to a press release on the AMA website.
“The AMA recognizes that racism negatively impacts and exacerbates health inequities among historically marginalized communities,”said Board Member Dr Willarda V. Edwards during a meeting of the AMA’s House of Delegates, adding that, without systemic changes, “the overall health of the nation will suffer.”
Among other things, the association vowed to acknowledge “the harm caused by racism and unconscious bias within medical research,” to encourage medical education curricula to “promote greater understanding” of the topic, and to work to prevent the influence of racism and bias in “health technology innovation.” The AMA also highlighted three forms of racism in health care: “systemic,” “cultural,” and “interpersonal.”
Reaction to the AMA’s decision was predictably polarized on social media, with some cheering the move while others raised their eyebrows in confusion at why it was deemed necessary.
Some commenters complained about what they saw as the politicization of science.
“Do I need to get a yearly checkup for racism? Is there a vaccine yet?” quipped one critic on Twitter.
Others were alarmed by the AMA’s move, speculating that it could outright subvert healthcare, as ‘racism’ would be interpreted differently by each physician.