October 14, 2020
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
As organizations representing nearly 5,000 hospitals and health systems, more than 1 million physicians, and more than 4 million registered nurses, we call on the Trump Administration to rescind Executive Order 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. Each of the actions outlined in EO 13950 would effectively reverse decades of progress in combating racial inequality.
On the front lines of health care every day, our members strive to provide the highest quality care to all patients and improve the overall health of the communities we serve. We embrace diversity, inclusion and equity in our workplaces and believe that these values make our organizations stronger and better equipped to provide optimal, culturally sensitive care to every patient. We recognize that myriad factors influence patients’ health status and health outcomes, including the social determinants of health, implicit bias, and historical systems that have led to unequal access to care. To further the goal of health equity, we must fully understand and address these factors.
We are, therefore, dismayed by EO 13950, which would stifle attempts at open, honest discussion of these issues in the public and private sectors. Prohibiting federal agencies from conducting and funding trainings that promote racial reconciliation is counterproductive to addressing racism.
As our members continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we bear witness to the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on black and brown people. Vital research conducted at the National Institutes of Health and academic centers to comprehend the effects of structural racism and implicit bias on health care and health outcomes is needed right now more than ever before. However, this research is threatened by EO 13950’s unprecedented attack on scientific freedom.
Promoting diversity and inclusion in the federal government would serve to strengthen, rather than weaken, collaboration among federal workers and contractors, who conduct lifesaving research, care for the nation’s veterans, and administer numerous programs and services to enhance the nation’s health and welfare. As providers of care to diverse communities throughout the country, we urge the Administration to immediately rescind EO 13950 and allow for our continued work on inclusion and equity.
Richard J. Pollack
President and CEO
James L. Madara
CEO and EVP
Debbie Dawson Hatmaker PhD, RN, FAAN