In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder during a global pandemic, physicians working in the hospital and clinics in Seattle wrote an open letter in the South Seattle Emerald arguing their case for health management.
The doctors, including Senior Fellow Dr. Amish Dave, called attention to the multiplicity of crises facing communities. Within the article, the authors highlight that “police violence is a public health issue and King County has declared racism a public health crisis,” and call for action by officials to meet the challenges this entails. Even with public surveys that show a desire for police reform, the results of trainings to combat biases have been unsuccessful. Thus, these doctors explore various ways that defunding the police would look.
Racism [is] a public health crisis.
The opinion piece continues, and the doctors call for “work[ing] with communities to re-evaluate our response to these situations and appropriate funds in a way that can better serve the public.” It also expresses the wide spread positive responses to current programs where only those with highly specialized training respond to emergencies where such training is necessary.
The proposed responses by the three doctors address the many layers of crisis, and respond through practical solutions proposed using examples of similar and successful programs. At the same time, they look to their field for practical internal explains of moment where they themselves, doctors, seek guidance from others to assist them in providing the best care and argue that in a public health crisis, like racism, it is important to seek out those who are best equip to respond.
Read the full opinion piece here.