Women in Anesthesiology is an independent anesthesiology organization consisting of women of every color. Injustice felt by one of us is felt by all of us.
We recognize that our specialty of anesthesiology is not immune to the inequalities experienced by the black community. We recognize that pregnant black women are less likely to receive a labor epidural or to receive the preferred anesthetic for cesarean delivery (1). We recognize that black children are less likely to have a parent present at the induction of anesthesia or to receive antianxiety medications before surgery (2). We recognize that black children and adults sometimes receive inferior pain management (3, 4). We recognize that some medical professionals hold false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites (5). As anesthesiologists, we are ethically bound to address these inequalities and serve all patients with the best evidence-based compassionate care that consciously accounts for the impact of racism on health.
Black women anesthesiologists are vital to the future of anesthesiology. The greatest percentage of young, nonwhite anesthesiologists are women, and 7.2% of women anesthesiologists are black (6). Black women are leaders in clinical medicine, from anesthesia residents to division chairs. We recognize their resilience as they face implicit and explicit biases at work, disparities in pay and academic time, and a lack of equitable mentorship as they conduct the rigorous practice of medicine (6). Women in Anesthesiology is committed to support the equitable professional development of women of color and to amplify their voices.
We denounce the acts of overt violence against the black community. We also recognize the acts that occur daily in subtle, tiresome ways through callous, offhand remarks or through the silence of colleagues and leaders during states of crisis such as this.
As an organization founded by, counseled by, and in service to people of color, we stand in solidarity against racism in all its forms. We stand firmly against racial discrimination through individual actions or institutional policies. We forge onward to seek equity at work and at home for women anesthesiologists, our patients, and our communities near and far.
(1) Lange https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0146000517300484?via%3Dihub
(2) Baetzel https://journals.lww.com/anesthesia-analgesia/Fulltext/2019/10000/Adultification_of_Black_Children_in_Pediatric.31.aspx
(3) Goyal https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2441797
(4) Lee https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735675719303912?via%3Dihub
(5) Hoffman https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843483/
(6) Francis https://journals.lww.com/anesthesiaclinics/Fulltext/2018/05630/Minority_Women_in_Anesthesiology.6.aspx
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