The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) condemns the murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, TN, and we reaffirm our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) as the U.S. grapples with this latest manifestation of the continuing public health crisis of systemic racism. In the wake of horrific racist violence, ACU stands in solidarity with our Black and other historically marginalized communities and members.
“We must take this and other despicable acts of violence as a clarion call to ourselves, to our communities, and to our nation to end the systemic racism that permeates American society and healthcare,” said Amanda Pears Kelly, ACU Executive Director. “Whether in overt violence or in subtler inequities in access to or quality of care—structural racism not only shortens the lives of individuals like Nichols, but all too often ends them. Racial justice is integral to health equity, but we cannot achieve either until we eradicate hatred, racism, and violence in all their forms.”
The murder of Nichols represents part of a continuing tide of violence against communities of color in the United States. Perpetrated both by individuals and structures, these incidents impact Black and other marginalized communities already grappling with significant social determinants of health and barriers to care, which are oftentimes also products of historical and present-day racist, oppressive systems. Hate crimes are rising in the U.S., reaching the highest levels in decades in several major American metropolises in 2022.
As we stand with all those impacted by or actively working to confront the violence devastating communities of color, ACU honors the life of Tyre Nichols and joins with his family in support and in grief. “Even as we struggle with the weight of our collective sorrow, we must redouble our efforts as clinicians, administrators, and advocates to support our BIPOC patients and staff,” said Dr. Doug Olson, President of ACU’s Board of Directors. “ACU is committed to helping our communities and network to create greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in care until we have eliminated the inequities plaguing our nation.”
ACU invites you to utilize our resources, training, and technical assistance and to contact us for further guidance, whether in furthering JEDI in your personal or organizational practice or advocating for an end to the public health crisis of racism.
“The continued violence, systemic racism and senseless murder is a plague to our nation and must change. No one should have to live in fear of violence or without access to equitable, inclusive care.” said Pears Kelly. “There is so much more to be done to heal our hearts, to reform our systems, and to better our understanding. We can begin by acknowledging that the time for anti-racist action is now.”
About the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) is a uniquely transdisciplinary membership association uniting clinicians, advocates, and organizations in the commitment to establishing a robust and diverse workforce to help transform communities to achieve health equity for all. Founded in 1996 by participants in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), ACU is the foremost advocate for the NHSC and leads advocacy, clinical, operational, and equity excellence and supports the healthcare workforce caring for America’s under-resourced populations. Learn more at clinicians.org.