ACOG issues statement of policy on racial bias

Racial bias negatively effects the health of people of color, according to ACOG.

The Executive Board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued a statement of policy on racial bias.

Citing the growing body of literature that shows the public health impact of racial bias on the health of people of color, ACOG notes the importance of understanding racial bias and the ways it might affect treatment within the profession of obstetrics and gynecology.

“Racial bias is an issue that affects our patients, either directly by subjecting them or their families to inequitable treatment, or indirectly by creating a stressful and unhealthy environment,” the statement reads. “It is critical that physicians are aware of this reality for patients of color regardless of the patient’s financial position.”

In the statement, ACOG offered recommendations for working to confront issues of racial bias in OB-GYN, including being aware of one’s own biases, encouraging racial and ethnic diversity at all levels of the profession, turning the focus of research to improving outcomes for women of color and exploring how implicit and explicit biases are associated with health outcomes in women.

In late 2016, Dr. Daniel Clarke-Pearson, Robert A. Ross Distinguished Professor and Chair of UNC OB-GYN, communicated to the department a similar statement that reinforced the principles and values of UNC OB-GYN as they pertain to issues of equality, equity and diversity, both in patient care and in the workplace. He encourage faculty and staff to explore the individual ways they could use the profession to make a difference in the lives of women inside and outside of clinic.

“We have ongoing research on health disparities, including the disproportional impact of fibroid tumors on African-American women, a dedication to recruiting underrepresented minority physicians to our residency programs and an increasing departmental dedication to voicing concerns of racial inequity,” said Dr. Clarke-Pearson. “I am glad to see ACOG echo those concerns and encourage continued work in this area, and we are proud to adhere and work toward the goals of this policy.”

Read the statement here.

ACOG is the professional membership organization for board certified obstetricians and gynecologists and is dedicated to the improvement of women’s health. With more than 58,000 members, its activities include producing practice guidelines and other educational materials.

 

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