Dr. Ben Danielson symbolizes the Black experience of retaliation for resisting the status quo. He has sounded the alarm on a culture of racism that Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), particularly Black people, have reported for decades at Seattle Children’s hospital. Similar issues exist at University of Washington Medicine.
The administration, faculty and trainees at UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s do not mirror the races or ethnicities of communities they serve, which leads to negative outcomes. Anti-racist sentiments fall flat when those with power engage in racist and inequitable politics and frameworks that directly impact their teaching and provision of care. This institutional racism is undoubtedly related to the unconscionably high rates of morbidity and mortality in BIPOC communities.
Until Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine move from theory to practice by ending tokenism, equitably compensating and ceding power at the highest levels to institutionally marginalized individuals with the politics to understand the nuances of race and intersectionality, they will continue to harm people with marginalized identities.
Both institutions must divest from racism and retaliation. Anti-racism requires majority BIPOC leadership that understands the differences between equality, equity and liberation, and have the expertise to actively move toward the latter.
L’Oreal Kennedy, MS2, DNP, CNM, ARNP, Auburn, UW School of Medicine medical student