WADA supports anti-discrimination policies for natural hair and cultural headwear

June 14, 2022 – According to new policy adopted today by physicians and medical students nationwide at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, policies in the healthcare workplace that promote acceptance natural hairstyles and cultural head coverings are essential to professionalism and fairness in medicine.

“The new policy informs the AMA’s ongoing work to dismantle structural racism in medicine by recognizing that intolerance of natural hairstyles and cultural headgear is a form of racial, ethnic or religious discrimination,” Madelyn said. E. Butler, MD, AMA Board Member. The AMA encourages medical schools, hospitals, and other medical employers to create policies that promote multiculturalism, ensure a work environment free of discrimination, and support health professionals’ commitment to safety.

The AMA also encourages healthcare facilities to respect healthcare workers with natural hairstyles or cultural headgear by providing adequate protective equipment in accordance with appropriate patient safety guidelines.

Over the past year, the WADA House of Delegates has passed several policies that explicitly recognize the role of racism in perpetuating health inequalities and inciting harm to historically marginalized communities. These AMA policies include recognition of racism as a threat to public health, remove race as a proxy for biology and eliminate racial essentialism in medicine.

Through research, collaborations, advocacy and leadership, WADA strives to advance a strategic plan promote racial justice and health equity.

About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the powerful ally of physicians in patient care. As the only medical association that unites more than 190 state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key healthcare stakeholders. The AMA leverages its strength by removing barriers that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and address public health crises, and leading the future of medicine to meet the greatest health care challenges. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

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