Guiding Principles on Anti-Racism and Bias Awareness

The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) recognizes that while race is a social construct, without biological basis, racism has real and lasting effects, harming all children and families through the systemic dehumanization of people. The intentional and unintentional harm experienced by children is far reaching and the impact goes well beyond each child, family, and community. No one is untouched by the effects of racism.

Only through centering those most affected by racist policies and systems of oppression, can we actualize health equity and improve health outcomes for all. In Illinois, that means inaugurally focusing on Black Americans’ experiences including the legacy of institutionalized chattel slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and racist medical treatment. Racist social and economic policies have actively limited the advancement of Black, Indigenous, and other families of color and segregated working-class families into areas that are deprived of resources such as transportation, educational and job opportunities, green spaces, healthy foods, affordable housing, access to health care and safety.

ICAAP commits to addressing these historical and ongoing wrongs to work towards a world that is inclusive and free of racism to improve the health and well-being of all children. We recognize the compounding effects of racism and other forms of discrimination and oppression, and we intend to take an intersectional approach. Race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender, ability, immigration status and more all influence how we navigate the world. Therefore, we seek to dismantle the systems of oppression that cause significant health and wellness disparities among the different populations we serve.

We understand that anti-racism work is a marathon without easy solutions and acknowledge that small victories may feel like slow progress. White supremacy is woven into the fabric of our country and has led to racism that permeates our society. However, every effort we make is important as we continuously strive to minimize racism's impact on children and families. On this journey towards equity more perfectly aligned with the AAP's mission "to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for ALL infants, children, adolescents and young adults," we will remember to celebrate progress and remain dogged in the face of adversity.

ICAAP commits to:

  1. Working actively to improve health equity for all children through our policies, programming, advocacy, educational endeavors, and promotion of scholarly work and evidence-based strategies.
  2. Educating our members and others in the healthcare field on the ongoing impacts and history of racism in medicine and the harms of race-based medicine.
  3. Advocating for policies that advance social justice and mitigate the effects of racism.
  4. Developing a diverse, inclusive and culturally humble workforce across the spectrum of pediatric healthcare.
  5. Working internally to embody an anti-racist organization.

Do you have any questions or want to get involved in the chapter's work on this issue? Please fill out this form indicating your interest. You can also download a PDF version of these Guiding Principles

Spotlight on BAAR at ICAAP's Town Hall

In a Town Hall on February 21, 2024, members of the BAAR committee, alongside other ICAAP leaders, discussed the conception and creation of the Guiding Principles and talked through questions and comments from ICAAP membership on the committee and its work. You can view the recording below: