Leadership | 01.11.22
AMA's New Language Guide Is a Step Toward Health Equity
An editorial by two Chicago physicians applauds the American Medical Association's (AMA’s) new language guide as a bold step toward health equity. By using careful deliberation in choosing their words and framing their experiences, the AMA suggests doctors can break down the systems and structures that disenfranchise certain patient populations. Medical training does not routinely include education on how socioeconomic status and systemic racism contribute to uneven access to care, explain Dr. David Ansell and Dr. Vinoo Dissanayake of Rush University Medical Center. However, they agree the new guide is a good starting point in that it prompts health care providers to address social ills that drive health inequities and use language that accurately reflects those realities. "This rethinking of language and considering the social causes of disease — not just the biological causes — is central," Ansell and Dissanayake write, "to the broader work of American health care to advance racial justice and equity in medicine."