Commentary

Letter from the Board of Editors: Call to action (again)


 

This editorial is the first to be published in GI & Hepatology News since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The corner of 38th and Chicago is 9 miles from my home in Bloomington, Minn. This corner became the epicenter of protests that have spread around the nation and world. Early on, protests were accompanied by widespread riots, looting, and destruction. In the ensuing weeks, this corner has become a memorial for Mr. Floyd and a place where people now go to reflect, pray, pay tribute, and pledge to work for change.

A coalition of willing businesses has formed in the area around 38th and Chicago. The largest employer in the area is Allina Health (I sit on the Governing Board of Allina Health). Our flagship hospital is 8 blocks from the site of George Floyd’s memorial. We will be a change leader by committing funds for local rebuilding, ensuring use of construction firms that promote minority workers (as was done when the Viking’s stadium was built), examining our investment portfolio with racial equity as one guiding principle, increasing our focus on barriers to access, enhancing equity education of our workforce, and working with city and state leaders to promote police reform.

As the Editor in Chief of the official newspaper of the AGA, I invited our board of editors to stand united in our condemnation of the racial injustices that led to the protests we now see. We each agree with the message from the combined Governing Boards of our GI societies (published June 2, 2020) stating “As health care providers, we have dedicated our lives to caring for our fellow human beings. Therefore, we are compelled to speak out against any treatment that results in unacceptable disparities that marginalize the vulnerable among us.”

Our responsibility as editors is to guide the content we deliver, ensuring its relevancy to our readers. In this light, we commit to delivering content that highlights racial injustices and health disparities for all people, as we seek to understand the many factors that result in barriers to health. We will emphasize content that leads to impactful change and will highlight progress we make as a specialty. We hope our collective work will help ensure that George Floyd’s memory, and the memories of all such victims, become a catalyst for permanent cultural change.

Editor in Chief, GI & Hepatology News
John I. Allen, MD, MBA, AGAF

Editor in Chief, The New Gastroenterologist
Vijaya L. Rao, MD

Associate Editors
Megan A. Adams, MD, JD, MSc
Ziad Gellad, MD, MPH, AGAF
Kim L. Isaacs, MD, PhD, AGAF
Charles J. Kahi, MD, MS, AGAF
Gyanprakash A. Ketwaroo, MD, MSc
Larry R. Kosinski, MD, MBA, AGAF
Sonia S. Kupfer, MD
Wajahat Mehal, MD, PhD

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