Spring greetings from the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion! Our committee’s vision is “for KAAP to lead the way and be a role model for pediatricians, patients and families, and the community in diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Many thanks to Barbara Pahud, MD, infectious disease researcher and specialist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, for presenting an informative webinar about the COVID-19 vaccine and the implications on communities of color on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 entitled COVID-19 Vaccines and People of Color. Dr. Pahud is actively involved and continues her impactful vaccine research in pediatric patients.
We honor, recognize, and celebrate observances about diversity, equity, and inclusion occurring in the spring months including Easter, Passover, Arab American Heritage Month, Ramadan, National Minority Health Month, Black Maternal Health Week, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, PRIDE Month, and Juneteenth. Jeanie Jew, a former congressional staffer, brought the idea of observing Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage to the attention of Representative Frank Horton in the 1970’s. Initially, the observance was signed as a resolution for a week-long celebration in 1978 to represent when the first Asian immigrant arrived in the United States in May 1843 with the observance extended to one month in 1990. Many medical contributions have been made by AAPI physicians and scientists including the groundbreaking research about HIV and AIDS by Katherine Luzuriaga, MD and David Ho, MD as well as the co-invention of oral contraceptive pills by Min Chueh Chang, PhD. With continued anti-Asian and xenophobic attacks and behaviors against the AAPI community including misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the disproportionate numbers of AAPI frontline healthcare workers, and the March 2021 murders of Asian Americans at an Atlanta spa, support for the AAPI community and all identities is needed now more than ever. Since May 1949, the month of May is also recognized as Mental Health Awareness month to spotlight not only education, resources, and awareness about mental health but also eliminating the associated stigma. Mental health concerns including anxiety and depression are at an all time high for children and adults in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and its ramifications. The month of June celebrates the contributions and impact of the LGBTQIA+ community and commemorates the Stonewall uprising in June 1969. Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day, dates back to June 19, 1865 with the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas and signifying the end of slavery.
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the recent ruling in the George Floyd murder case. There have been many emotions including collective sighs of relief as well as the uncertainty about the impact and future ramifications of the verdict on policing and persons of color. This is only one case and one win against racial and social injustice. Now is not the time to become complacent but to continue ongoing efforts and commitments to action towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The next educational webinar hosted by the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be taught by Timothy Roberts, MD, Fellowship Program Director for Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. The webinar will address sexuality in LGBTQIA+ adolescents. Please look out for future announcements and registration information for this event with free CME available.
Thank you for the participation and continued support of our phenomenal committee members and welcome to our newest members Drs. T. Ryan Smith and Sarah Zuk. Committee meetings are open to all KAAP members and occur on the first Tuesday of every other month from 12 noon – 1 PM with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 1, 2021. If interested in participating on the committee, please contact KAAP Executive Director, Ms. Mel Hudelson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our webpage at http://www.kansasaap.org/wordpress/racism-and-children/ for educational resources and continued learning about diversity, equity and inclusion including the AAP policy statement, The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health.
In empowerment and unity,
Kelly Kreisler, MD, MPH
Tyler K. Smith, MD, MPH
Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Co-Chairpersons