ACEP Statement on Structural Racism and Public Health

Washington, D.C.—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) denounces racism and all senseless acts of violence. Racism is a social determinant of health. The structural racism we are witnessing nationwide undermines the health of individuals, families and communities we serve.

For eight minutes, George Floyd pleaded for his life as a Minneapolis police officer kept a knee on his throat, but no medical attention was rendered. This is not the first time acts of fatal, brutal force have occurred, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in just the past three months. ACEP sees these acts as a public health emergency undermining our ability to protect and care for our patients. 

ACEP’s “Non-Discrimination and Harassment” policy states that the College “advocates tolerance and respect for the dignity of each individual and opposes all forms of discrimination against and harassment of patients.” It was originally passed in 2005 and applies today even more than ever.

Since 1996, our policy advocating for a “Violence-free Society” states that ACEP “strongly supports the goal of a society free from violence,” and further states that “ACEP believes emergency physicians have a public health responsibility to reduce the prevalence and impact of violence through advocacy, education, legislation, and research initiatives.”

As part of that responsibility, ACEP’s mission includes the promotion of health equity within the communities we serve. The fate of our nation’s public health and safety lies in the balance and we demand change.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org.

Contact: Maggie McGillick | mmcgillick@acep.org | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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