Mass. Medical Society, DPH, state’s Medical Schools Issue Set of Principles Addressing Racism

WALTHAM — The Mass. Medical Society (MMS), the statewide professional association of physicians and medical students with more than 25,000 members, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have teamed with the deans from the state’s four medical schools — Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School — to address racism in academic medicine and in health care organizations.

Buoyed by a shared goal of eliminating racism in medicine, the organizations worked to form a set of principles that will guide deliberate actions that will create an antiracist, diverse, inclusive, and equitable medical culture.

“In order to break down the structures of structural racism, we must learn, we must teach, we must lead. I am so proud of the Massachusetts

health care community for coming together in this time of crisis,” said MMS immediate past president Dr. David A. Rosman.

The principles include acknowledge and learn, lead and commit, disrupt and transform, and cultivate.

“This landmark statement recognizes that we must address structural racism to be able to combat health inequities,” said former Massachusetts public health commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, who left the DPH on June 18. “With this set of principles, we are committing to create and sustain a culture across medicine in Massachusetts that is equitable as we seek to dismantle racism in all of its forms, starting with our medical students’ education for years to come.”

Last year, the MMS declared that racism is a public health crisis and constructed an organizational antiracism action plan in which the MMS committed to promoting equity and racial justice, supporting physicians who have been marginalized, and prioritizing antiracism in its strategic plan.

“It is mission critical for the Medical Society, the DPH, and our state’s medical schools to lead in supporting the next generation of physicians and their patients,” said MMS president Dr. Carole Allen. “This document outlines important steps to address systemic racism as it manifests in health care. The Massachusetts Medical Society is committed to health care as a basic human right; racism in all its forms interferes with that right and leads to unacceptable and disproportionately poorer outcomes and premature death for members of the Black and Brown communities.”