Philadelphia (October 21, 2020) –Today the American College of Physicians (ACP) issued a commitment to being an anti-racist organization dedicated to policy, advocacy and action to confront and eliminate racism, racial disparities, discrimination, bias and inequities in health and health care and within its own organization. ACP strives to embody a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization that facilitates effective and respectful interaction among individuals who hold a broad range of views, and respect, empathy and understanding of others. ACP is studying, listening, and developing evidence-based solutions to create an equitable and inclusive organizational culture, and to guide its interactions with members, staff, and others.
ACP states that just as it is imperative that physicians, and all people, speak out against hate and discrimination, it is also imperative that organizations, institutions and individuals address sources of institutional prejudice, racism, structural barriers to access to health care, discrimination and harm through transparency and accountability to begin correcting historical racial injustices. The statement reflects on historical racism and discrimination that perpetrated harms by the profession and practice of medicine. ACP acknowledges and regrets its own historical organizational injustices and inequities, and past racism, discrimination and exclusionary practices throughout its history, whether intentional or unintentional, by act or omission. The organization pledges its commitment to transformational change, and asks ACP members and internal medicine physicians to pledge to do the same.
In the statement, ACP outlines a series of policies and actions that reflect and demonstrate its commitments to: ensuring the diversity, equity and inclusion of ACP members, governance and employees; being an anti-racist organization; combatting racial disparities that affect health and health care; and promoting gender equity and eliminating the inequities in compensation and career advancement that physicians can face.
“Supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion and anti-racism is at the core of our advocacy, and is woven throughout our ongoing efforts to advocate for changes in public policy to confront and support these issues,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP.
ACP’s statement also details the overarching principles and ongoing efforts that serve as a foundation upon which all of the organization’s diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism initiatives will be built, and as critical value statements to guide the work and actions of staff and governance. These include: core values and standing goals; a 2020-2021 strategic priority of diversity, inclusion and engagement; the establishment of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; training within ACP to raise awareness of individual biases and assumptions; and collaborating with other organizations in sharing of best practices and policies across internal medicine subspecialties.
“We are committed to a sustained effort and an active process that reflects the importance of transparency and accountability as we move forward,” continued Dr. Fincher. “We call on our members and all internal medicine physicians to join us in this commitment so that we can work together to end racism, bias, discrimination, harassment and inequity in our society, our profession, our communities, and within ourselves.”