end structural inequities

Author: Michelle (Page 1 of 8)

Activist Nola Darling talks on the megaphone in front of the Brooklyn Center police station at a protest over the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S., on April 13, 2021. (Christopher Mark Juhn/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

(The following was part of a letter written to the AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group, April 14, 2021)

Dear AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group members,


This has been a difficult week and it is only Wednesday. You have committed your research and careers to the study of disparities in health and our health systems. I know many of you shoulder multiple other responsibilities in your organizations and communities, in advancing health equity. This week, many of you are being asked, directly or indirectly, to continue with your work as normal. I am writing to affirm that this is not normal but unfortunately is normalized in our society. None of us should accept the ongoing murder of Black people, whether state-sponsored or state-sanctioned, as normal, even if we are forced to confront it regularly in the United States. We can honor their lives and our own, by giving ourselves and those around us acknowledgement and space for Monday’s tragedy. For those who want to learn more about what you can do to support antiracism efforts locally and nationally, I encourage you to read past IG chair Prof. Rachel Hardeman’s statement from the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity.

Maybe this week we take a pause on doing, on writing, on producing. For some, this is the time to rest and find our communities of support. As I have said before, though we are a small interest group of an organization, we see you and we will continue to be here for you.


UC Davis Racial Trauma Resources

Chang W. Lee—The New York Times/Redux


(The following was part of a letter written to the AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group, March 23, 2021):

Dear AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group members,

I have been heartened by the outpouring of support for the Asian American community from so many others. Like other Asian Americans, I have been carrying this weight- the heightened expectation of racist violence- for over a year now. Some of us were looking forward to a much-needed spring break- or for others, at least a pause- we spent the week in mourning, anger, and perhaps most of all, exhaustion. Amidst our grief, it helps to know that we are not alone.


I thank all of you for your continued support as we, in the leadership, made the decision to focus this year’s activities on the role of structural racism in the creation and perpetuation of health inequities. I know that health ‘disparities’ spans a multitude of sources of injustice. However, I hope we can be reminded once again from this week’s tragedy that our intersections matter- and in turn, solidarity also matters.


Change- of the substantive, structural kind- requires collective action. Though we are only an interest group of a professional organization, we aim to support everyone to further this work- through education, development of policy recommendations, and building our community. This is hard work, and we want you to know that we are here for you.


Michelle Ko, MD, PhD

Chair,  AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group



Anti-Asian racism and COVID-19

Stop AAPI Hate National Report

Resources for AAPI Solidarity Work

UC Davis Racial Trauma Resources

(Photo: UCSF, White Coats for Black Lives)

Last spring and summer we saw a surge in declarations of anti-racism from health and medicine-related institutions. If you’re looking at the calendar, you might notice it’s time we start asking for receipts.

In thinking about opportunities and areas of resistance re: institutional change, I’ve been diving into reading about diversity efforts in higher education. I am finding these readings helpful documents of how diversity can (or fails) to happen. I am hoping this can inform all of us on how to think harder and in much greater detail on how anti-racism is (or is not) going to happen.

Leading or been appointed to a new anti-racism committee/initiative/insert-actiony-sounding-name-here? Check out the following:


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