Racism, Health Injustice and Health Care Workforce Training

This is a statement from the Academic Units for Primary Care Training and Enhancement (AU-PCTE):

A well-trained, appropriately distributed, adequately resourced, and racially and ethnically diverse interdisciplinary primary care workforce is a powerful tool for promoting well-being and improving health in communities. Sadly, the practices, policies and incentives in the current training and health care ecosystem embody long-standing racism that exacerbates health inequities.

As members of a collaboration of Academic Units for Primary Care Training and Enhancement (AU-PCTE), we are committed to eliminating racism in all its forms and all its effects on health care workforce diversity and health, and call for immediate collective action to do so.

Summary points

  • A diverse primary care workforce that is trained in social determinants of health, integrated behavioral health and oral health is vital for addressing the physical, social and mental health needs of vulnerable urban and rural populations.
  • To realize the ideal of health equity, it is necessary to confront racism in all its forms. Racism is a key determinant of health and is pervasive and deeply embedded in society and the practices of institutions that train the health care workforce.
  • In taking concrete steps to eliminate racism, institutions should draw on the convictions that health care workforce diversity and health equity are achievable and that initiatives that meaningfully address racism will benefit everyone, but require dismantling embedded structural racism throughout the pathway from cradle to career.
  • Institutions should strategically realign their missions, visions and values to enable reconciliation on racism, psychological safety for Black people, racial diversity, racial inclusivity and health justice. Transparency and accountability within and across institutions should be fostered with measurable outcome metrics on integration of Black people in institutions and the quality and safety of care received by African Americans and other populations.

Read the full report, which includes background information, recommendations, a call to action and a list of academic units for primary care training and enhancement.

The AU-PCTE program works to bolster the primary care workforce to address the needs of vulnerable and rural populations by enhancing workforce diversity and advancing training models on social determinants of health, integrated behavioral health and oral health.

The AU-PCTE program is collecting feedback and ideas on this draft statement. Complete the form to offer input into the final version, and provide your contact information if you would like to be sent the final report.