AUA Statement Condemning Antisemitic and Islamophobic Behaviors on University Campuses
The AUA is, by both definition and spirit, an organization focused on the university, a place where students, trainees, faculty, and staff should feel safe to learn, exchange, and create ideas in peace. As such, the AUA strongly condemns the recent rise of antisemitic and Islamophobic behaviors on university campuses as well as any form of discrimination, harassment, or violence that compromises the physical or psychological safety of university members, or that erodes the values of university culture. The AUA also reaffirms its staunch commitment to diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just academic communities, in anesthesiology and beyond.
Verdict in George Floyd’s Murder
The guilty verdict regarding the murder of Mr. George Floyd serves as an important milestone in our nation’s quest for social justice. However, the work is not done.
The AUA continues to reject racism and discrimination in all its forms. As AUA members and as academic leaders in our specialty, we are committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion that we hold as core values.
AUA Statement Condemning anti-Asian Violence
The recent shooting deaths of six Asian American women and two others in Atlanta, GA, and the assaults on men and women of Asian descent in several cities across the US have raised the profile – and prompted long overdue discussions – of the history of racism and the ongoing violence against those of Asian descent.
From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to Japanese internment during World War II, American citizens and immigrants of Asian and Pacific Island descent – including Filipinos and Vietnamese who fled famine and war in their native countries in the mid- and late 20th century – have experienced all manner of racism and violence.
According to the advocacy group Stop Asian American and Pacific Island Hate, the number of reported hate-related incidents against Asian Americans in 2020 increased 150% over the previous year, with women being victimized at more than twice the rate of men.1 Most advocates believe the reported numbers seriously undercount the actual number of incidents. This state of affairs cannot be tolerated by those of us whose primary responsibility is to provide health care for all people who need our help. The AUA recognizes the value of diversity, inclusion, and equity among all communities, and condemns violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community are often grouped into the myth of a homogenous “Model Minority,” which propagates assumptions about the education level and financial prosperity of members of this community, and that they are therefore immune from experiencing discrimination. Erroneous assumptions of homogeneity of any community feed into existing stereotypes and biases and can contribute to worsening healthcare disparities.
This statement reflects the need to raise awareness of racism, discrimination, and violence against all victims from many communities. It is a commitment of support for the victims and families of such violence, as well as for our colleagues, faculty, staff, trainees, medical students, and patients and families of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Finally, the purpose of this statement is to promote a dialogue among groups with differing viewpoints to seek out solutions that promote harmony and ensure safety and well-being among communities, both in our academic healthcare workspace and beyond.
- Russell Jeung Ph.D. AYH, Ph.D., Tara Popovic, and Richard Lim. STOP AAPI HATE NATIONAL REPORT. 2020-2021.
Response of AUA to executive order on D&I
This statement is issued in response to the United States Executive Order entitled, “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” issued on September 22, 2020.
The Association of University Anesthesiologists was founded in 1953 to support and advance research and scholarship in anesthesiology. The AUA strenuously disagrees with the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping because it misrepresents efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in academic anesthesiology programs and their sponsoring institutions. These institutions are recipients of federal grants and contracts, and are therefore directly impacted by this Executive Order.
Diversity and inclusivity (D&I) are central to a competitive, creative, and innovative biomedical workforce; undercutting these concepts will hurt our country’s standing as a leader in scientific inquiry. D&I training efforts aim to address the institutional, societal, and state policies which contribute to systems that explicitly or tacitly enable discrimination against and oppression of certain groups of people. Such systems undermine our research endeavors by omitting talented prospective researchers and faculty members.
The AUA is strongly committed to and values meritocracy – the idea that individual effort, drive, and capability are key determinants of success. D&I efforts ultimately serve to uphold meritocracy by systematically identifying and eradicating barriers that prevent meritocracy from operating unfettered. However, such efforts require open discussion about these barriers, including racism, sexism, and other forms of individual and structural discrimination. Such open discussion will be weakened by this Executive Order.
We strongly advocate for training programs that are inclusive and that foster discussion without assigning blame. In so doing, we will provide equitable opportunities that will ultimately benefit science, medicine, and the United States at large.
Equality and Inclusion
The Association of University Anesthesiologists (AUA) Council is strongly committed to creating a culture within our organization with equality and inclusion as core values. We believe that each of our members’ institutions should also strive to attain a culture where all people are welcomed and equal. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is deeply interconnected with our ideals of equality and inclusion, and we wholeheartedly support the BLM movement.
Therefore, we are calling for recognition and celebration of the holiday known as Juneteenth, which is this Friday, June 19.
Juneteenth marks the anniversary of the end of slavery, on June 19, 1865. The holiday has historically been an important annual celebration in the Black community. The AUA Council believes that this year – 155 years after the abolishment of slavery – it should be celebrated in all communities, and to serve as an annual reminder that racism, intolerance and injustice to any group has no place in medicine or our community as a whole.
LGBTQ Supreme Court Ruling
This month is not only the time of year that Juneteenth is celebrated, but is also the annual Pride Month celebration. The AUA Council also recognizes and supports the civil rights of LGBTQ individuals, and we would like to applaud the United States Supreme Court for its ruling this past Monday (June 15, 2020) that protects gay or transgender individuals against employment discrimination. Steps like these are crucial strides toward creating a fair, just and inclusive culture for all but clearly there is more work to be done.
AUA Leadership Advisory Board (LAB)
In response to the current climate, the AUA Council has established a Leadership Advisory Board. The LAB will be also help strengthen our organization by developing strategies and tactics to:
- Establish an equitable and inclusive environment for AUA members; and
- Engage in deliberate outreach within academic anesthesiology to achieve diversity within AUA membership.
Police Brutality and Racism in America
The past few months and the past few days have been particularly difficult for our communities. The disparities in health outcomes uncovered by the Covid-19 pandemic have lifted the veil on the systemic inequities in healthcare. The recent horrific events with the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd expose the racism that are endemic in our society.
The AUA fully endorses the AAMC Statement on Police Brutality and Racism in America and Their Impact on Health. We stand in support of our colleagues, our trainees, and our communities in this struggle. We recognize the stress and anguish many are feeling.
We urge our members and our community to listen in order to learn how to be better advocates. The AAMC calls on all of us to acknowledge our own biases. We have started this process in our own home. Throughout the past year, AUA leaders have taken steps to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion within our society and within academic anesthesiology. Our work is starting; we continue to strive toward our goal for an equitable and inclusive society that better represents the diversity of our academic community.
As AUA members, we are academic leaders in our specialty. We are committed to adding our voice and to being the leaders of change in our specialty. The AUA Council will therefore propose an amendment to the bylaws in support of establishing a Leadership Advisory Board, to elevate the voices of our constituents, to anchor our work in best practices, and to achieve equity in our association. This serves to formally begin our work to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion that we all hold as core values.