A Statement from NAFC Board Chair Stephanie Garris and NAFC President and CEO Nicole Lamoureux

 

Today we take a moment to reflect on the state of our nation, to recognize the pain being felt across the country from the killing of George Floyd and those before him, to share our support for the Black Community and all people of color, to reject any form of racism, hate, bigotry and violence, and to express our hope to be part of the solution and change that needs to occur to deal with systemic racism and oppression.

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics was built on the fundamental premise that health care is a right and not a privilege. As an organization, we value human dignity and access to quality, compassionate health care. Our membership consists of Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies who provide access to quality health care for medically underserved people and seek to address health equity for our patients.

As our nation reels from the recent events and deals with so much pain, we take this moment to share not only our support for the Black Community and the need to end systemic racism, but we also want to share how we hope to be part of bringing change, how we aspire to be part of the solution.  

We know all too well, being on the frontlines serving our patients, that people of color are suffering at greater rates from COVID-19. This pandemic has put a spotlight on the underlying issues in our country – that racial, societal and economic factors have a direct impact on people’s health and their ability to access health care and other resources needed to have a healthy life. Not only are Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, but they are on the frontlines of injustice in health care.

As we all address and combat racism on a broader scale in this country, the NAFC commits to starting with our own organization.  We will commit to working toward health equity and to address the racial, societal and economic factors that influence people’s health.  We will commit to diversity and to focusing on ways to address systemic racism and disparities. We will develop policies, hold educational sessions and share resources to address racism in the exam room, implicit bias, violence against communities of color, privilege and compassionate, culturally appropriate health care. We will work towards getting more resources including COVID-19 supplies and testing to underserved communities throughout the country.

We will work to be agents of change, hope and healing in a time where all three are so desperately needed.