NAPNAP Statement on Discrimination and Child Health

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) expresses our deep concern for the health and wellbeing of children as our country responds to the recent and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. NAPNAP remains committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity as core values of our association and stands by our diversity and inclusion statement. We recognize the deep pain and fear felt by many of our fellow Americans and we share in that pain as our nation seeks understanding of underrepresented voices and forward paths of unity and healing.

As pediatric-focused advanced practice nurses, we are all too aware of the significant impact these events have on children’s health and wellbeing. Research on early exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has significant short- and long-term impact on both physical and mental health. We resolve to support our members and to provide families with resources that help adults have difficult conversations with children. NAPNAP encourages all pediatric providers to continue to respond with kindness and compassion to children at this time, providing families with culturally safe care environments and effective strategies for positive coping. Anticipatory guidance at well visits should include support for children and families to recognize and respond to unfair, discriminatory and racist treatment. During this time, pediatric clinicians should be especially alert to children who exhibit signs of anxiety, depression, grief and stress. A Practical Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Screening, Early Intervention, and Health Promotion, 2nd Edition includes guidance for parents and kids coping with stress, anxiety, uncertain events and loss. There are additional resources through the American Psychological Association on Racial Ethnic Socialization and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on family/caregiver guidance during times of traumatic stress.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant and widespread disruption while revealing disproportionate impacts on health equity. Acts of discrimination and racism further contribute to these health disparities, significantly and detrimentally impacting child and adolescent health development. We stand with those calling for change in systemic structures resulting in social and health inequities such as health care access and delivery. We work toward a future that allows children to grow and develop in safe environments where we all share equal opportunities for health and wellness. More efforts need to be dedicated to developing evidence-based interventions that address the negative health impacts of individual and systemic discrimination on children and our communities. NAPNAP is committed to ensuring we do our part to address social influencers of health, minimize gaps in health disparities and improve child health outcomes.

NAPNAP remains united and dedicated to advocating for all children to grow up in a world that celebrates their diversity and advocates for their safety. Children deserve a community absent of discrimination, cognizant of individuality and supportive of resilience development. We support working toward peaceful answers to the complex situations we face. We will continue our mission, as an association, to promote equity in child health as experts in pediatrics and advocates for children.

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