Systemic racism must be treated as a public health crisis requiring systemic solutions to achieve racial equity and justice. Over the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the horrendous consequences of racial disparities and inequities on marginalized communities and an already burdened pandemic health care landscape. People have coalesced globally to protest police violence against individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups including but not limited to people who self-identify as Black, African American and/or Hispanic. Racist state violence has resulted in the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland and countless others.
This moment in our nation’s history should not be just symbolic but transformative. Wide-reaching and sustained efforts are needed to eradicate the roots of systemic racism. IRGNI, in collaboration with AcademyHealth, will collaborate with AcademyHealth and other academic and clinical institutions to accomplish the following goals:
Critically strengthen the integration of equity and health services research methods across all research paradigms
We fully endorse and echo the recommendations made by AcademyHealth’s advisory group on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). They call upon health services researchers as a community of scientists to address biases in data collection and health equity research and support wider dissemination of empirical evidence to address systemic issues that exacerbate disparities and inequities that harm the health of individuals and communities.
We commit to:
- Continue holding formal and informal diversity, inclusion, equity and justice conversations with our academic, clinical, and professional colleagues to facilitate the synthesis of solutions to significantly mitigate systemic racism
- Establish an annual IRGNI award in2022, which formally acknowledges and celebrates researchers who are committed to reducing the harmful effects of systemic racism, especially on the health of historically marginalized populations
Continue to support mentorship and create career pathways for researchers from a wide spectrum of culturally diverse backgrounds
In nursing academia, only 15.9 percent of full-time faculty belong to racial and ethnic minority groups. Therefore, to increase diversity in the nursing and health services research workforce, we are strengthening and sustaining an IRGNI mentoring program called the Emerging Diversity Leaders Program to coach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students and early career professionals. IRGNI will also foster partnerships with nursing schools across the U.S., including:
- Institutions that have prioritized confronting systemic racism, prejudice, injustice, and bigotry to build an inclusive and safe learning community
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities to recruit passionate, committed and talented and engaged young leaders to the AcademyHealth community
Strengthen accountability measures and mechanisms to reduce the effects of systemic racism.
We will foster a culture of inclusive excellence. We will facilitate multiple forums for diverse groups of nursing health services researchers to come together to ask questions, share experiences, and solidify action plans to promote diversity and inclusion. IRGNI will:
- Review and refine our existing IRGNI diversity and inclusion statement consistent with culturally sensitive strategies for increased recruitment, retention, mentoring, and annual review mechanisms
- Strengthen the development of a framework which engages interest group leaders to facilitate, maintain, and promote ethical conduct among all stakeholders and members consistent with the mission of eliminating racial discrimination and inequities
Together with our members, new partners, and stakeholders, IRGNI looks forward to strengthening our DEI efforts and promoting health equity to reduce the effects of systemic racism.