ScholarRx Statement on Racism and Social Justice
Systemic racism is a public health crisis. The statistics speak for themselves:
- COVID-19 mortality rates are presently 2.3 times higher for Black Americans than for White Americans
- Black Americans are less likely to have access to emergency health care than White Americans
- Black mothers are 3 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than White mothers, while the infant mortality rate for Black infants is twice as high as White infants
- Black families are more than 3 times more likely to report living in unsafe communities as White families
- Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be food insecure as White Americans
While the global outcry following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (among many other tragic cases) initially focused on policing, the lens has widened to include the structural factors that make life more perilous for Black Americans than their White counterparts. The disparities in healthcare are particularly alarming, resulting in a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Latinx populations. In addition, the health of other minority groups remains at risk, especially with the recent decision by the current administration to revoke protections for transgender people against sex discrimination in health care.
At ScholarRx, our mission is to build a healthier world through accessible, sustainable medical education. We recognize that to help bring about positive change, medical students need tools and resources that can help them understand and begin to solve these critical issues. They need to be fully prepared for the challenges they’ll soon face as physicians.
One way in which we’re demonstrating our commitment to anti-racism and diversity in healthcare education is through our Medical Student Alliance for Global Education (MeSAGE). This initiative is designed to empower student organizations with the support of our digital platform to develop and share medical education that is often missing from the traditional curriculum. Among our areas of focus are:
- Social justice
- Diversity and inclusion
- Healthcare disparities
- Sexual and reproductive health rights
- Student as educator and change agent
These issues cross borders, which is why MeSAGE is comprised of international organizations that represent over 1 million medical students worldwide, including:
- The American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
- The European Medical Students’ Association (EMSA)
- The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA)
- The Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity
- The Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
- The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA)
MeSAGE seeks to address essential educational priorities and help medical students define, build, and deliver critical learning experiences that will have both societal and global impacts. Through our Rx Bricks platform, we commit to making this new curriculum available at no cost to medical students and medical schools around the world. Our hope is that, over time, this initiative contributes toward creating a more just and equitable world with improved healthcare for all.
Child Trends. (2019). Neighborhood safety. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=neighborhood-safety
“COVID-19 Deaths Analyzed By Race And Ethnicity — APM Research Lab”. APM Research Lab, 2020, https://www.apmresearchlab.org/covid/deaths-by-race. Accessed 12 June 2020.
“Disparities Data Details MICH-1.3 By Race And Ethnicity For 2017 | Healthy People 2020”. Healthypeople.Gov, 2020, https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/data/disparities/detail/Chart/4825/3/2017. Accessed 12 June 2020.
Hanchate AD, Paasche-Orlow MK, Baker WE, Lin M, Banerjee S, Feldman J. Association of Race/Ethnicity With Emergency Department Destination of Emergency Medical Services Transport. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(9):e1910816. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10816
“Infant Health Mortality and African Americans,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, accessed November 17, 2019, https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=23.
Petersen EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:762–765. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6835a3
“Racism, Inequality, And Health Care For African Americans”. The Century Foundation, 2019, https://tcf.org/content/report/racism-inequality-health-care-african-americans/?agreed=1#easy-footnote-bottom-25. Accessed 12 June 2020.
Vaccaro JA, Huffman FG. Sex and Race/Ethnic Disparities in Food Security and Chronic Diseases in U.S. Older Adults. Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2017;3:2333721417718344. Published 2017 Jun 30. doi:10.1177/2333721417718344