Self-examination is hard work that requires us to be honest and uncomfortable. It means asking these questions over and over
again, knowing nobody else can answer them for us, and remembering that silence
itself is an answer.
It means challenging the status-quo and the
“way things have always been done” even if, and perhaps especially if, that way
has benefited you more than others.
It means confronting our language, our
assumptions, our institutions, and our relationships to peers, mentees, and the
communities we serve.
The work will not cease when these questions
are answered, but a daily practice of being more equitable and just is the path
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Rhea Boyd, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician, medical educator, and child and community health advocate who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works clinically at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and teaches on structural inequality and health at medical schools and residency programs in the Bay Area. Dr. Boyd recently completed the Commonwealth Fund Mongan Minority Health Policy Fellowship at Harvard’s School of Public Health. She now serves on the Board of California Chapter 1, American Academy of Pediatrics and is an advisor to a local tech non-profit venturing to meet social needs as a means to improving child and community health. Dr. Boyd has also been active in coordinating a group of public health officials, community advocates, and funders to evaluate and address the child and public health impact of harmful police practices and policies in the Bay Area. She authors the blog Rhea.MD, where she critically engages the intersections of health and justice. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Executive Committee on Communications and Media.
Nia Heard-Garris, MD, MSc, FAAP, is a primary care pediatrician and health services researcher within the Division of Academic General Pediatrics, Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Heard-Garris is the Chair of the AAP Provisional Section on Minority Health, Equity and Inclusion. A former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, she received her medical degree from Howard University of College of Medicine and completed clinical training at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, in pediatrics and primary care. Dr. Heard-Garris’s research interests include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); racism; racial socialization; and resilience. Through her research, she wants to help pediatricians and parents understand their role in fostering resilience in children, and in communities that support children, so they are able to overcome adverse circumstances and thrive.