During ASN’s recent webinar on Going Beyond the Statement: Dismantling Systemic Racism in Nephrology, a panel of nephrologists delved deep into the ways structural and overt racism affects patients and the profession and what to do about it (1).
“We hope and envision this will be the start of an important ongoing conversation that engages the broad community of our organization,” said ASN’s Secretary-Treasurer Keisha Gibson, MD, MPH, who moderated the panel.
Nephrologists and ASN must play a greater role in changing policies, practices, and beliefs that prevent Black, Indigenous, and other people of color from achieving their full potential, said panelist Will Ross, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity and professor in the Division of Nephrology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Housing, transportation, and nutrition policies all have major impacts on health, particularly among disenfranchised and under-resourced populations, he said.
“The ASN has realized we can effect change,” he said. “We can advocate for those policies; it is in our purview.” Ross argued for more use of rigorous implementation of science to ensure the use of evidence-based interventions to reduce health disparities.
Panelist J. Kevin Tucker, MD, director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital Joint Nephrology Fellowship Program, said it was the first time in his 25-year career in nephrology that he felt the profession was having this difficult discussion. He noted that often people dance around the topic because it is so uncomfortable to talk about race and racism with colleagues.
“We have to be willing to have difficult conversations,” Tucker said.
American Society of Nephrology. Going beyond the statement: dismantling systemic racism in nephrology. YouTube. September 15, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE0kmXLibx0&feature=youtu.be
NKF and ASN form joint task force to focus on use of race in eGFR. Kidney News Online August 24, 2020. https://www.kidneynews.org/kidney-news/leading-edge/nkf-and-asn-form-joint-task-force-to-focus-on-use-of-race-in-egfr
Medical students lead effort to remove race from kidney function estimates. Kidney News Online July 2020; 12. https://www.kidneynews.org/kidney-news/current-issue/medical-students-lead-effort-to-remove-race-from-kidney-function-estimates
Boyd RW, et al. On racism: a new standard for publishing on racial health inequities. Health Affairs July 2, 2020. doi: 10.1377/hblog20200630.939347; https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200630.939347/full/
Onumah C, et al. Race disparities in U.S. nephrology fellowship training. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2011; 6:390–394. doi: 10.2215/CJN.04450510
Association of American Medical Colleges. Diversity in Medicine: Facts and Figures 2019. 2019. https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/workforce/interactive-data/figure-13-percentage-us-medical-school-graduates-race/ethnicity-alone-academic-year-2018-2019
Association of American Medical Colleges. Holistic Review. 2020. https://www.aamc.org/services/member-capacity-building/holistic-review
Jain SH. The racist patient. Ann Intern Med 2013; 158:632. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-8-201304160-00010; https://www.acpjournals.org/