National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and will work in allyship going forward to combat discrimination and address systemic racism.
The violence against the AAPI community is part of the larger system of racism against all communities of color, but the recent spike in hate-related incidents against the community is especially concerning. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that anti-AAPI hate crimes reported to police rose 149% between 2019 and 2020. According to experts, such incidents are likely underreported.
As an organization that is dedicated to promoting equity in society, there is not only a general obligation to speak out against racism, but a specific one as it relates to our health care system. Research shows that the stress caused by racism and discrimination worsens health outcomes and shortens lives. It can cause distrust in the patient-provider relationship and lead to discrepancies in treatment pathways.
The Covid-19 crisis has surely exacerbated hate crimes against the AAPI community, particularly as they have been unfairly and untruthfully blamed for the spread of the coronavirus. But discrimination pre-dates 2020; in fact, it pre-dates our country’s founding. Each part of our society must be examined for racism and bias, and we must take active steps to eradicate it.
Accordingly, NPAF is working with the Patient Advocate Foundation to launch the Health Equity Affinity Group. Staff across all levels of both organizations, diverse in age, race, gender, ethnicity, tenure, position and lived experiences, will drive organizational changes in policy and programming. Members will examine internal operations to ensure they do not reinforce structural racism or discrimination for our staff or the populations we serve. At NPAF, we want to ensure that equity is present in all we do as we help individuals in their pursuit of optimal health.