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Community Disparity Statement

Friday, June 26, 2020

We write to share our concerns, hopes, and commitments to you as your community healthcare providers in these challenging times. We are saddened by the death of George Floyd, the manner in which he died, and the struggle this represents in and for our country. As healthcare professionals, we take an oath: "First, do no harm." It is disturbing to us that one person, charged with preserving and protecting life, could callously inflict this harm on another. We are well aware that this is not an isolated incident, but reflects a larger problem of racial intolerance in the systems of our society that impacts people of color in our community every day.

As compassionate humans, we grieve with the family of Mr. Floyd and the families of others who have suffered such injustices. As a nation we have yet to live into our claim of "liberty and justice for all" and have allowed to go unrealized the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. of that day when children would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Explicitly and implicitly, we have tolerated too many inequities, ignored continuing inequalities, and worked for too little justice for all people. Racism has no place in our common life and shall not have the final word. It is time for a change, time to hold a mirror up to ourselves and ask, "Have I contributed to the problem?" and as importantly, "How can I be part of the solution?"

For our part, Augusta Health commits to live into our mission to promote the health and well-being of our entire community through access to excellent care. We commit to improve the health of the community, not just through the provision of clinical services, but by reaching deeper into the community to address underlying reasons for health disparities. As we have seen in the pandemic, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; we are committed to improving the health of the whole community by addressing the racial, ethnic, and cultural inequities that are daily realities for our neighbors. We will continue to address the social determinants of health such as hunger, housing, and access to care; to improve mental health services that address the emotional and psychological aspects of intolerance and discrimination, and to increase access to health services.

These times have been unprecedented, and we all have an obligation to be better. Over the past several months, we have felt overwhelming love and support from our community as we've battled the COVID-19 pandemic together. It is our sincere hope that everyone in our community will unite and channel this love and support from each other, to each other, and with each other into a promising future together.

In healing,
Augusta Health Board of Directors