Statement on Racism
Racism is an insidious health and social determinant that systemically dehumanizes the lives of Blacks in America. Within the organ donation and transplantation communities, persistent racial inequities contribute to disparity in opportunities, physical health, psychological wellbeing, healthcare access, life quality, and ultimately, survival.
While recent tragic events in the Black community have catalyzed our society, we recognize the longstanding and historical patterns of neglect, abuse, and maltreatment perpetrated on people of color, especially Black Americans. We unequivocally affirm that Black lives matter. Inaction or silence in the face of these injustices serves only to perpetuate racism, extend the public health crisis, and contradict our mission to better the lives of vulnerable populations.
Thus, as a fundamental extension of the AST mission, we stand resolute in our commitment to eradicate systemic racism in all forms, eliminate racial disparities, elevate collegial diversity, deconstruct barriers to a culture of racial equality, and hold the transplant community accountable to zero-tolerance for racism.
As a first definitive action, the AST will immediately establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to develop organization-wide strategies, programs, and policies to execute the objective of this statement, while continuing to support our members, staff, patients, and the transplant community. As a community of healthcare professionals, scientists, and patient advocates, we recognize the imperative to rigorously evaluate, re-evaluate and continuously improve. These are the first of many necessary steps to achieve a culture of diversity and equity.
The AST is committed to taking the following actions to achieve permanent change:
- Update the AST Bylaws to establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that will promulgate a sustainable culture of racial inclusivity and racial equity in the organization.
- Revise our organization values and ethics statements to reflect the priority of racial equity, incorporating safeguards to ensure that that all society and staffing decisions are free of bias.
- Conduct “listening sessions” to better understand the impact of racism, racial discrimination, and racial inequities on our members, staff, and patients – experiences both within and outside of our organization.
- Develop and disseminate a Public Policy Key Position Statement on Racial Disparities and Inequities in Transplantation.
- Host a virtual Town Hall on Racism, Disparities in Transplantation, and the AST Action Plan.
- Require annual education and training of all Board members, COP leaders, and staff in learning anti-racism strategies recognizing implicit bias and increasing equity.
- Educate members about the negative ramifications of systemic racism and the benefits of diversity through targeted educational activities.
- Dedicate resources and mentoring to establish and sustain a pipeline for entrance of Black members into COPs, research and leadership opportunities, and professional promotion in transplant-related fields.
- Capture essential Society member demographic data to identify areas for strategy development (by specialty, geography, or experience level) to promote racial equality practices and policies.
- Require COPs to have an annual benchmark specific to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Develop consensus on Racial Disparities in Transplantation, possibly through a summit or consensus conference, resulting in actionable and measurable outcomes.
- Strive to partner only with corporate sponsors who share our commitment to practices designed to eliminate racial disparities and increase equity in transplantation.
- Explore the creation of a directed research grants program dedicated to increasing equity and reducing racial disparities in transplantation.
- Collaborate with other transplant-related organizations to eradicate policies and practices in transplantation that are discriminatory and perpetuate racial injustice, inequity, and disparity.
- Accelerate our advocacy efforts to promote legislation to advance equitable transplantation access and outcomes for patients of color.
Approved by the Board of Directors on 6/29/2020