June 8, 2020
Dear APA Colleagues,
As an academic community dedicated to ensuring the optimal health and well-being for all children, particularly those most vulnerable, we are acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic is magnifying and exacerbating the disparities and inequities we know exist.
During these difficult times, we have seen the dedication of our profession in supporting and caring for our patients, communities, and each other. Unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 has become racialized and is causing harm to members of our community. There are rising reports around the world of acts of xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment, particularly towards the Chinese community. Even those working on the front lines as healthcare providers are receiving targeted acts of discrimination. As an organization committed to nurturing a diverse community of academic pediatric health professionals and with core values of respect and inclusion, we condemn these acts and write this message in solidarity with our Asian communities and APA membership.
Historically, there is a long history of stereotypes that associate Asians with disease outbreaks. Referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” continued to perpetuate these stereotypes. As stated by the World Health Organization, “This may seem like a trivial issue to some, but disease names really do matter to the people who are directly affected. We’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities…”
As members of the pediatric academic and scientific community, we urge all APA members to actively respond to acts of racism, xenophobia, or other acts of discrimination targeted at your colleagues, trainees, staff and patients. This highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts that help equip our membership with the knowledge and skills to confidently and effectively address bias. Our community must not allow this pandemic to become an excuse to advance hateful ideologies.
For more information about this issue and free training resources, please go to:
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice: COVID-19 Resources to Stand Against Racism
- hollaback! Resources for Harassment on the Street, Online, and in the Workplace
Please let us know if there are additional ways the APA can support you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.