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June 2, 2020

WSMA Statement on the Death of George Floyd

SEATTLE - The Washington State Medical Association, like the rest of the U.S. and the world, is shocked and saddened by the needless loss of life resulting from the use of excessive force and violence, the latest in a long line of many such incidents in our country.

In the midst of a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting our communities of color, the death of George Floyd serves as a harsh reminder that the responsibility for dismantling structural racism is incumbent upon all of us, particularly those in positions of leadership.

Racism is a social determinant of health. The disparate health outcomes of black Americans in the U.S. can be seen as an extension of a historical context where non-white, and specifically black, lives have been devalued. Physicians and other health care professionals wield power, privilege, and responsibility for dismantling structural racism, and we have an obligation and opportunity to contribute to health equity through legislative action and advocacy.

Just as COVID-19 has revealed the disparate impact on communities of color, the death of George Floyd has shown how too easily persons of color in our culture can become victims of racist acts of violence. We urge our political leaders at this time to join us as we repay our obligation to contribute to health equity, here in Washington state and across the U.S., through stronger public policy, so that George Floyd's death—and those of the thousands of victims disproportionately impacted by COVID-19—will not have been in vain.

The Washington State Society of Anesthesiologists and the physician group, US Anesthesia Partners - Washington, have signed on in support of this statement. The Washington Physicians Health Program have also signed on in support.

For more information, contact:

Graham Short
206.956.3633 (cell/text)
gfs@wsma.org

About the WSMA

The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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