June 5, 2020
As child health providers, we care for a diverse population and have seen the health effects of racism and childhood trauma. The Oregon Pediatric Society stands with our patients and colleagues of color; we must work to protect each other and our communities. We must also work to mitigate the effects of the toxic stress of racism and inequality. This involves confronting Oregon’s own history of racism and discrimination.
We want to amplify the message of the American Academy of Pediatrics condemning racism.
Please take a look at the resources available from the AAP and other outlets about how to confront our own biases, conscious and implicit, as well as how to teach children about racism.
Join us in uniting against racism and discrimination in all forms, and by denouncing race-related violence, including police brutality. In addition, we must think critically about our communities, and how racism affects the daily lives of people we live and work with, as well as our patients. We need to speak up, and we also need to listen, and to care for each other, particularly those among us who are experiencing this on a very personal level. The emotional toll of these events is great, and we need to lift each other up when the fear and exhaustion weigh us down.
Resources on racism and disparities
- AAP Policy Statement on the Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health
- “The Talk,” AAP Physician Version: Special Considerations for African American, Male Adolescents
- Anti-racism Resources for White People
Optimize your clinic practice
- Evaluate your diversity statements with a critical and sensitive eye
- Consider integrating age appropriate cultural diversity discussion into anticipatory guidance
- Work on creating a culturally safe and relevant medical home
- Optimize clinic & community engagement through advocacy and public policy awareness
Encourage families to talk with their children about these recent events
- HealthyChildren.org: Talking to Children about Racial Bias
- Talking with Children About Police Brutality
- A child’s story about racial injustice, read aloud on YouTube: “Something Happened in Our Town”
Encourage families and children to play
Play is a buffer for toxic stress and is critical for children’s growth and development. Families can download a printable Play at Home Playbook that features games with little to no equipment.
OPS is gathering a group to advise us on what we can do to better support our members, practices, families, and communities, and further OPS’s work in equity, inclusion, and anti-racism social justice. If you would like to join this urgent conversation and share your ideas, please contact Julie Scholz, OPS Executive Director, julie.scholz@oraap.
The Oregon Pediatric Society Board of Directors