President’s Message

Posted on Jul 7, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

The death of George Floyd was shocking and horrifying. As the nation has reeled with massive social unrest for weeks, it is clear that there is a need for dramatic change in how black people are treated in this country. While it would be easy to assign some bad actors to systemic racism within law enforcement, we all have a duty to understand our part in the injustice.

It is imperative as health care providers that we examine and challenge our own implicit biases. This is not to say that all bias is intrinsically wrong, some of it may be informative and predictive. But bias influences how we make decisions for our patients, how we perceive their underlying medical problems, and most importantly, their outcomes.

Studies, including one within Sutter’s own population of patients, have shown that significant health disparities in both exposure and outcomes, as well as access to care, are disproportionate in communities of color. Please see link below for more information.

https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00598

Oakland is among the most ethnically diverse cities in the country; we have a duty to be both culturally sensitive and aware of the structural inequalities that have shaped the experiences of our patients.

On June 8, physicians and nurses took a knee for George Floyd to show solidarity with peaceful protests (see below).

I implore each of you to examine your own implicit biases and to do as much as you can to help balance the scales.

Jeff Chen, MD, MPH
Chief of Staff ABSMC Summit Campus

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