AMSN first spoke out on issues of DEI with an anti-racism pledge in June 2020. We committed to doing more and we have been working to make that happen. I wanted to provide an update on the work we have been doing and our next steps. Before I do that, though, I thought I would share some data on why this work remains critically important for AMSN.
Asian hate crime is on the rise. According to two recent news articles, Asian hate crime spiked to unprecedented levels last year, with one source citing hate crimes were up almost 150% in 2020 compared to the year before.
Most hate crime is verbal, with one story noting 90% of these incidents involve verbal harassment and shaming and the other noting 71% were verbal harassment1, physical assault accounting for approximately 9% of hate crimes.
Filipino nurses are dying from COVID at alarming rates. According to three news articles, Filipino nurses have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, with approximately 30% of nurses who died of COVID being of Filipino descent.
Some hypothesize this could be because Filipino nurses work where close contact with patients is required, like in emergency departments, intensive care units, or in nursing homes. It could be because Filipino nurses are more deferential to authority, especially if they are working in the US on work visas and are afraid they might lose their jobs and have to return to the Phillipines.
Lastly, it could be because Filipinos face significant health disparities, with increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. These health disparities place these nurses at extremely high risk when working with COVID patients.
These news stories, and many others, illustrate why this work is so important for everyone, but why they are especially important for nurses and for us as your professional association. We want to be part of the conversation and to drive change. We want to be part of the solution to these issues.
We have launched product development for a new DEI educational program. We are working with an instructional design firm and a DEI expert to build the first module of six to explore diversity, equity and inclusion in healthcare: from the perspectives of patient care and the work environment.
We know that inequities impact patient care but also impact the work environment of our nurses.
Also, we have formed a steering committee to provide guidance and expertise about our DEI work as an association. We committed to you that we would look at our policies, procedures and processes to ensure we were fostering a diverse and inclusive association that was equitable for all members and certificants. We are thrilled with the expertise we have been able to recruit for the steering committee.
In addition to the steering committee, this week we will be launching a call for volunteers for a task force to assist us with our DEI work. We are looking for members that are passionate about DEI and are from, or work primarily with, groups that have been traditionally marginalized in health care and nursing.
The task force will assist us with driving change within AMSN and within the health care environment. We hope to have the task force in place by the beginning of April. We anticipate all this work will take approximately 18-24 months to complete.
We will keep you posted at every step of the way, and as involved as you would like to be. Stay tuned for more information on the steering committee and task force, and on the programs and products we will develop over the course of the project. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments you might have.