We, the leaders of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ABIM Foundation, unite with our colleagues, practitioners, and partners within the medical community to decry the police brutality, racist violence and underlying structural, systemic and cultural racism that have had an impact on every aspect of life in our country.
Like tens of millions of Americans, we watched the killing of George Floyd in police custody. We also see the devastating and disproportionate toll that COVID-19 has taken on Black and Brown communities, which have seen far higher rates of infection, death and unemployment, facts that vividly demonstrate the structural inequity in our society and in our health care system.
As leaders within the medical community aware of implicit bias, we need to accept and understand our own roles in creating the current reality. A medical model that focuses only on the characteristics of a virus and ignores the constructed social world through which the virus spreads is insufficient and must be expanded.
It’s simply not enough to say passively we will “do no harm”; we pledge actively to do our part in opposing and dismantling systems and policies that cause harm to our patients and disproportionately affect those in Black and Brown communities.
As a physician certifying organization, ABIM commits to analyze our programs for potential disparate impact on racial or ethnic minority candidates, be transparent about the results and address any inequity to which we may be contributing.
The ABIM Foundation has focused on the impact of trust on health care. We will devote our 2020 Virtual Forum to gaining a deeper understanding of how historically merited distrust in the health care system among Black and Brown communities has contributed to disparities, and what can be done to earn back that trust. We commit to identifying and spreading promising solutions.
Our oath is to preserve and protect lives regardless of race, creed, gender, or color. We must accept the sobering fact that the present reality speaks to a collective organizational failure.
We commit to do all we can to eliminate racism, its underlying roots of power and privilege, and its impact within our organizations, our communities, and our country.