Across the nation, racism has been declared a public health crisis. In the latest issue of Health Affairs, a pediatrician calls on his field to confront the disease of racism in pediatric care, which has for too long harmed children and families of color.
“Pediatrics is at the ethical heart of health care. Amazing staff in clinics across the nation make meaningful differences in the lives of children. When families are at their most vulnerable points, it is time to build on their strengths, identify their needs, and support them in every way we can. Now it is time for us to lead the hard and worthy work of addressing the disease of racism.”
In this essay, Ben Danielson, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, recounts the painful story of a Black pediatric patient and his mother as they navigate a hospital stay. Tragically, the hospitalization ends with the child being temporarily placed in a medical foster home due to bias and racism that hospital staff did not see playing out before them.
Dr. Danielson serves as an advisor for Accelerating Child Health Transformation, a national initiative led by the Center for Health Care Strategies with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This national initiative seeks to accelerate the adoption of key strategies to advance family-centered pediatric practice.