Outdated, racist and flawed guidelines are to be binned by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), which has followed, for years, flawed guidance linking race to risks for urinary infections and newborn jaundice, reports AP.
This week (2 May), the AAP announced it was scrutinising all of its guidance in efforts to eliminate “race-based” medicine and resulting health disparities.
AP News reports that a re-examination of AAP treatment recommendations has doctors concerned that black youngsters have been undertreated and overlooked, said Dr Joseph Wright, lead author of the new policy and chief health equity officer at the University of Marylandʼs medical system.
The academy has begun purging outdated advice, and committing to scrutinising its “entire catalogue,” including guidelines, educational materials, textbooks and newsletter articles, Wright said.
“We are being much more rigorous about how we assess risk for disease and health outcomes,” he said. “We have to hold ourselves accountable in that way. Itʼs going to require a heavy lift.”
In recent years, other major doctor groups, including the American Medical Association, have made similar pledges, motivated partly by civil rights and social justice movements, but also by science showing the strong roles played by social conditions, genetics and other biological factors in determining health.
Last year, the academy retired a guideline calculation based on the unproven idea that black children faced lower risks than white kids for urinary infections. A review had shown that the strongest risk factors were prior urinary infections and fevers lasting more than 48 hours, not race, Wright said.
A revision to its newborn jaundice guidance – which currently suggests certain races have higher and lower risks – is also planned, Wright said.
Dr Nia Heard-Garris, head of an academy group on minority health and equity and a paediatrician at Chicagoʼs Lurie Childrenʼs Hospital, said the new policy includes a brief history “of how some of our frequently used clinical aids have come to be – via pseudoscience and racism”.
Whatever the intent, these aids have harmed patients, she said.
See more from MedicalBrief archives: