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Published: June 1, 2020

Ending Racism is Primary to Care

Statement from David Bazzo, MD, CAFP President

Family physicians are on the frontlines of health care at the community level. We are committed to caring for individual people and are trained to see, hear, and feel the needs of the community through our patients.

The horrifying murder of George Floyd in Minnesota is the latest incident showing how racism and bias hurt our Black communities. As family physicians, we also see how the more subtle forms of racism and bias put our African American patients at risk and have led to disparities in care and patient outcomes. African Americans have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease than other groups, and African American children are five times more likely to die of asthma than White children. Studies have shown even when adjusting for risk factors, African Americans have worse clinical outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has also disproportionately affected Black and Brown Americans.

Gary LeRoy, MD, AAFP President, said it well in his recent statement, “family physicians across the nation are grieving with and for their communities, and we join with our members in speaking out against all forms of institutional racism. What is happening in our communities today, and what has been happening in our country for decades, is unacceptable.”

Our patients rely on us to care for them. We are there when new family members are born and through the end of life. We are there in joyous times and incredibly tough times. We will continue to be there for our patients during this unrest and uncertainty. We must recognize the trauma that comes with violence and daily aggressions, physical or not. We must continue to fight for safe communities, including demanding that our police colleagues help us keep our patients healthy. We must address bias and racism in our institutions. And we must not turn away from looking at our own biases, and how these manifest in our practice as family physicians.

Your CAFP shares grief and outrage over the killing of George Floyd. We are committed to moving forward an agenda, programs and platforms to address the racism and bias in our own house of medicine.

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816 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
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