VIP Co-Founder and Chief of Pediatrics at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Dr. Benard Dreyer recently published an article, “The Death of George Floyd: Bending the Arc of History Towards Justice for Generations of Children” in Pediatrics discussing the importance of racial equality for the health of future generations. Dr. Dreyer has also served as past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016. In the article, the authors point out how pediatricians can use their power to deconstruct racial injustices. Working closely with families and children gives pediatricians a unique opportunity to play a role in working toward an equal society for the well-being of future generations of children. The authors also provide suggestions for policies that if implemented could lead to effective changes.
Despite past tragic events, similar to ones happening today, society has more or less maintained the “status quo”– until now. Individuals and communities are coming together to stand up for the critical changes needed for a racially just society. One way healthcare workers have showed up for the patients they care for was by forming Pediatricians Against Racism and Trauma (PART) last year. PART is comprised of over 60 pediatrician leaders from across the country, including VIP Co-Founders Dr. Alan Mendelsohn and Dr. Benard Dreyer, who call for policy changes and action. As stated in the article, structural racism lays the foundation for many injustices to be built upon. Some of those injustices include: bias in the delivery of care to Black children and families, bias in medical schools and healthcare, mass incarceration of youth of color and the parents of children of color, discrimination against Black, Native American, and Latinx families in housing, education, and employment, microaggressions suffered by individuals of color during daily life, criminalization and detention of immigrant families at the border, and denial of benefits. These overwhelming injustices lead to a life of chronic fear and emotional trauma in children, youth, and families which is why change is so crucial. As the American Medical Association stated, “police brutality is a health issue.” Therefore, healthcare workers are in a vital position to play a part in leading the way toward change.
Not only do the authors of this article state where many issues lie, they also provide evidence-based policies for achieving successful changes. Those six policy recommendations are:
While this list is not exhaustive, it is comprehensive and offers opportunities for policymakers to carve a path towards justice so the children of tomorrow can thrive in a society that is not built against them. At VIP we support and stand with peaceful protestors in the pursuit of a better tomorrow. To read the full article click here: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/06/23/peds.2020-009639