Gustavo Friederichsen

Gustavo Friederichsen, LACMA CEO

Racism is a public health issue. It impacts quality of life, access to care, education and economic empowerment. It causes psychological trauma that can last a lifetime. And, yet, many claim its a myth, overblown, embellished. Last week a hospital CEO didn't support his physicians taking a knee in memory of George Floyd. That hospital administrator has never faced racism.

He "thought" the act of taking a knee was disrespecting the flag. Never was about the flag if folks simply listened. It took a terrible act; in fact it took a series, a multitude, a cascade of terrible acts and the righteous protests of people from all walks of life led by Black Lives Matter, a group shunned by many just a few years ago, to increase dialogue, listening and eventually understanding each other . Change is coming and the hope, the belief, the dream is that people of color are treated with respect, dignity and courtesy.

The dream is that healthcare leaders, the vast majority of whom are white, embrace change, to help ignite progress towards a more just, civil and respectful society because "to care for patients" means you should care for all regardless of race. In fact, I hope all hospitals and heath systems, clinics and medical practices look at their own behavior standards, codes of conduct, pillars for success, mission, vision and values and invite people of color to provide perspective. Its not another focus group and it certainly isn't another retreat. Its time for change and healthcare should lead the way.

Let's care for each other so that all can benefit from better health. It's time.

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