Addressing Racism

Dear HIP families and community,

We want to let you know that, as a practice, we are committed to doing what we can to eliminate the health disparities that exist in this country. Racism is at the root of many of the inequities that exist in the health care system and in our broader society. We stand with the American Board of Pediatrics and their recently released statement:

Racism is life-threatening and life-ending. As pediatricians, we see its pernicious effects on newborns and children of color and their families. In this moment of national mourning and anger over the lethal effects of racism, the American Board of Pediatrics pledges to do its part to fight racism in children’s lives. In particular, we commit to working with others to eliminate racial disparities in health care. Surely, better days are ahead when all children can grow up with the same expectation of safety, health, and opportunity, regardless of skin color.

If you or your children identify as black or as a person of color or if society identifies you that way, you have likely had to have these conversations for years. Difficult and painful conversations that outline the fear that you have for your children based on the color of their skin as they walk out into the world each day. You may have been sounding the alarm bell for foundational change for years and found its righteous song muted and ignored time and time again. It is our hope that this moment will be different. We are committed to do our part as pediatricians to make that so.

If you or your children identify as white or if society identifies you that way, you may or may not have stepped into these conversations with your kids. Whether you have or not, now is the time to begin or continue this conversation. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a very helpful page with suggestions on how to talk to your children about racism and the recent protests .

Last summer the AAP put together a detailed policy statement on the Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health. It is staggering. Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, MD, MPH, FAAP wrote a powerful blog post for the AAP last summer, asking pediatricians to become what she calls an “anti-racist”. This short article has been circulated in our practice and is worth a read for parents as well.

As Tara and I continue to raise our 3 children in this tumultuous time, we are engaging in an open and honest dialogue with them about the dark aspects of our society’s past and present. We hope that they are informed, compassionate and ready to be the change we hope to see in a brighter, more just future.

Our best to your family,

Bryan and your HIP family

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