To the editor: Last month physicians and health care workers in Fairbanks came together to peacefully demonstrate in support of White Coats for Black Lives. We were proud to see so many of our colleagues stand up publicly to say “Black Lives Matter.”
In the weeks since that rally, we have been continuing to learn more about racial inequalities in the health care system. Stories in the national news, for example, have highlighted the worse outcomes faced by Black patients with COVID-19 and the specific challenges faced by minority medical students striving to become physicians. On a personal level, many providers have heard emotional stories from our own patients about the painful effects of skin color on their experiences. We have had difficult and important conversations with colleagues and friends about racism in health care and our community. We have committed ourselves to continuing to learn, continuing to try to recognize our own shortfalls, and continuing to speak up when we see inequities.
We want our patients to know that we recognize the problem of systemic racism in our society as a whole and in health care specifically. Black lives matter. We appreciate those who have expressed a willingness to listen and we commend those who choose to step up and advocate for our patients and our community.