How Should Clinicians Own Their Roles as Past and Present Exacerbators of Health Inequity and as Present and Future Contributors to Health Equity?

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To improve health outcomes, the science and practice of medicine must move quickly in response to new information. Yet, in other important ways, health professionals must operate slowly and in a mode of intentional stillness to center empathy and light a path from empathy to solidarity. Solidarity, or standing with, prompts efforts to create circumstances in which disadvantaged communities can achieve health equity. This article argues for intentional stillness and solidarity to inspire ethical conduct and structural change. In the case presented, inaction and delay, which are neither virtuous nor antiracist forms of stillness in this context, would leave intact the status quo of disparity and inequity in cardiac medicine.


race and health, health inequity, health care, antiracist, racial equity

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AMA Journal of Ethics