Wildwood Family Clinic has long prided itself on being a part of the Madison and Cottage Grove Community. We know how sacred and important providing medical care can be and we are committed as a primary care clinic to understand ALL aspects of a patient’s life and experience that can impact their health—physical, mental, and societal.
The events, tragedies, and protests of the last few weeks have shown us that members of our Community are grieving. We hear, see, and feel this grief. Perhaps nothing is more important to a person’s health than their ability to feel safe. Racism in cultural institutions, in particular discriminatory policing coupled with the use of excessive force, violates that safety. This is particularly apparent for people of color.
Unfortunately health care is not immune from this racism. The numbers are startling. Black mothers die during childbirth at a rate 3-4 times that of whites, even when adjusting for income, education, and pre-existing health issues. Black infants have the highest mortality rates and rates of low-birth weight. Blacks have higher rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, and die on average at a younger age than whites. And Blacks have died of COVID-19 at a rate far higher than that of whites, constituting 23% of the deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin where the population is 6% Black.
As a physician-owned, independent local clinic that is part of this community, we have a moral imperative to shine a light on discriminatory practices and implicit biases at work within the system, within our clinic, and even within ourselves. We agree with the American Academy of Family Physician’s statement that racism is a public health crisis. We want to ensure that all of our patients and their families feel valued and respected as equal members of society and our Wildwood Family. We are committed to learn from and support groups that provide services, support, and healthcare education to people of color. We look for ways to diversify our staff and patient populations to be more representative of all of us.
There are no quick fixes or easy answers. There is only work to be done. Wildwood is listening. In our clinics, in our communities–we will continue to listen, do the work, and stand by our commitment to provide quality healthcare for each and every one of us.