AAP issues statement on past racism

The American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledged the racist treatment its first two Black members endured and vowed to establish an agenda promoting equity through meaningful diversity, according to a July 29 policy statement. 

 In 1939, the AAP rejected Drs. Alonzo deGrate Smith, MD, and Roland Boyd Scott, MD, before admitting them as the organization’s first Black members in 1945. Verbatim board meeting notes in the 1940s read, “We allow negroes to come to our meeting and we fix a separate place for them to sit. They do not become members. If they became members they would want to come and eat with you at the table.” 

The board of directors of the AAP is resolved to apologize for the racism that contributed to the inequities that Dr. deGrate Smith, Dr. Scott, and other pediatricians have endured, the July 29 statement reads. The organization is also voting to explicitly codify in its bylaws that AAP membership doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The AAP is working to broadly establish an equity agenda through meaningful diversity and inclusion, along with committing to combating bias and discrimination in society, including structural and systemic anti-Black racism.

“We cannot do so without authentically acknowledging, owning, and reconciling past discriminatory transgressions like the shameful gauntlet to membership experienced by Drs. Alonzo deGrate Smith and Roland Boyd Scott,” the statement reads.

For the whole statement, click here. 

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