Message on Systemic Racism

Kevin Ewanchyna, MD, President 
Oregon Medical Association

June 2, 2020

During a time of great stress and suffering in this country due to the global COVID-19 pandemic—a disease that disproportionately affects Black people and other communities of color—we have witnessed another purposeful act of violence against a person of color with the death of George Floyd. 

The health of the community is more than the medical care we provide to our patients. Racism is a public health issue, and as medical leaders, Oregon physicians and physician assistants must stand up against the reality of systemic racism and its consequences to improve the health, safety, and wellbeing of people of color. 

I and my medical colleagues are committed more than ever to rooting out the causes of racism and supporting solutions to permanently resolve inequities based on race. The OMA devotes itself to listening, to learning, and to developing programs that address racial and other inequities in the healthcare system. Above all, the OMA advocates for prompt, meaningful medical care for all communities and populations.

Staying silent is not an option. I call on my own colleagues, even during this extraordinary time, to pause and reflect on this loss of life, and to dedicate themselves to their compassionate work that can bring about the change we need.