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Racial Health Disparities, Prejudice and Violence
African-Americans and other minorities are subject to prejudice and discrimination in our society that has an immense negative impact on their health. African-Americans in particular are at risk of being subjected to discrimination and violence against them because of their race, endangering them and even costing them their lives. Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have access to health care than people who are white. Further, even when controlling for issues with access to care they tend to receive poorer quality care. We know that prejudice, discrimination, and violence disproportionately harm the health and well-being of racial and ethnic communities.
Where We Stand
The American College of Physicians is committed to combatting racial disparities that affect health and health care. This includes fighting the prejudice at the root of the problem, as well as the discrimination, inequities, violence and hate crimes that result from that prejudice. Racial disparities, discrimination, harassment and violence are public health issues. Evidence-based solutions are needed to combat the stressors that disproportionately harm racial and ethnic communities.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) believes racism, racial disparities, discrimination, harassment and violence are all public health issues. ACP is committed to being an anti-racist, diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.
- A Comprehensive Policy Framework to Understand and Address Disparities and Discrimination in Health and Health Care (2021)
In this policy paper ACP lays out a framework that confronts the various, interconnected, and compounding aspects of U.S. society that contribute to poorer health outcomes for persons based on their race, ethnicity, religious, and/or cultural identities.
- Understanding and Addressing Disparities and Discrimination in Education and in the Physician Workforce (2021)
ACP offers recommendations to create safe, inclusive, and supportive educational and workplace environments; to promote the diverse medical school bodies and workforces; and to support, fund, and strengthen education at all levels.
- Understanding and Addressing Disparities and Discrimination Affecting the Health and Health Care of Persons and Populations at Highest Risk (2021)
ACP makes recommendations to address disparities in coverage, access, and quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities, including expanding Medicaid and insurance marketplace subsidies, funding translation and patient navigator services, and supporting programs that place physicians in underserved communities.
- Understanding and Addressing Disparities and Discrimination in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Affecting the Health of At-Risk Persons and Populations (2021)
ACP calls for changes to criminal justice and law enforcement policies and practices that result in racial and ethnic disparities in interactions, sentencing, and incarceration and disproportionate harm to these communities.
- PolicyThe American College of Physicians’ Commitment to Being an Anti-Racist, Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Organization 2020
- PolicyRacism and Health in the United States: A Policy Statement from the American College of Physicians 2020
- Policy(From the ACP Ethics Manual Seventh Edition) Obligations of the Physician to Society 2019
- PolicyAddressing Social Determinants to Improve Patient Care and Promote Health Equity 2018
- PolicyPosition Statement on Recognizing Hate Crimes as a Public Health Issue 2017
- PolicyRacial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care 2010
A Historical Perspective of Medical Education for Black Physicians in the U.S.
ACP Board of Regents member, Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, provides a detailed history of medical education for Black physicians in the United States and the racial disparities physicians faced throughout several important time periods. Watch Video
ACP members from across the country have joined in expressing the importance of racial justice and equity in healthcare by participating in rallies to draw attention to the cause. View gallery.
Latest Advocacy Efforts
- LetterACP Letter to President-Elect Biden Regarding Policy Recommendations for the New Administration 12/10/2020
- StatementACP Signals Agreement with AAMC on Importance of Implicit Bias Trainings 9/30/2020
- StatementInternists Support Initiatives to Ensure Diversity in the Physician Workforce, Oppose Efforts to End Them 8/7/2020
- LetterJoint Letter Supporting Action on Medicaid 1115 Demonstrations to Address Racial Disparities and Systemic Racism 7/20/2020
- StatementInternists Call the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act a ‘Major Step Forward’ 6/24/2020
- LetterACP Letter of Support for H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 6/24/2020
- StatementACP Proposes Policies and Action to Confront Systemic Racism, Discrimination and Injustices in Health and Law Enforcement 6/19/2020
Search the ACP Policy Library
To access everything ACP has said related to racial health disparities, search ACP's library of policy statements, copies of testimony, and letters to government and non-government officials.
Racial Health Disparities
Additional Advocacy Efforts
- A Wake-up Call for Healthcare: Emerging Ethical Lessons from COVID-19 6/16/2020
- Internists “Gravely Concerned” About Discrimination and Violence by Public Authorities and Others 5/29/2020
- Letter to HHS Urging Action on Racial, Ethnic, and Language COVID-19 Disparities 4/28/2020
- Internists Say Harassment Based on Race or Ethnic Origin is Never Okay 3/31/2020
- Thank You Letter on Preventing Maternal Deaths Act 12/17/2018
- Internists and Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health Awarded Grant Promoting Racial Equity 11/19/2018
- Group of Six Letter to Representatives Supporting Preventing Maternal Deaths Act 4/28/2018
- Joint Letter to HUD Regarding Smokefree Policies in Multi-unit Housing 1/7/2013