In wake of George Floyd’s death, cardiovascular groups denounce ‘incidents of racism and violence’

George Floyd’s death on May 25 has sparked protests throughout the United States and other parts of the world, and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) all collaborated on a joint statement that touches on that incident and its connection to the cardiovascular health of racial minorities.   

The organizations emphasized that acts of violence and racism are “core causes of psychosocial stress that promote poor well-being and cardiovascular health, especially for communities of color.” They denounced such incidents, noting that they “continue to ravage our communities.”

“The profound grief and stress triggered by these events, as well as the consequences for black lives, contribute significantly to cardiovascular risk,” according to the statement. “Each episode has emotional and physiological effects on individuals and all communities. ABC and our partners have been at the forefront of addressing cardiovascular disparities in our communities for decades and it is crucial, now more than ever, that our efforts help to mitigate the unacceptable disparities among our most vulnerable populations. We have the unprecedented opportunity to address these issues through policy and by working with affected communities and the healthcare providers who serve them.”

The three organizations added that they “stand and link arms in solidarity with efforts to dismantle systems that maintain excels morbidity and mortality, especially among vulnerable populations and those historically oppressed.”

The statement, which is available here, was signed by ABC President Michelle A. Albert, MD, MPH; AHA President Robert A. Harrington, MD; and ACC President Athena Poppas, MD.

Another statement from the AHA

The AHA also issued a separate statement denouncing “senseless acts of racial violence against individuals and senseless destruction in American cities that further threaten communities of color.”

“The ongoing, systemic inequalities that affect the lived experience and health of African Americans have created an epidemic,” according to the statement. “Like any illness that spreads through a people, the impact is felt far beyond any single incident involving any single individual.”

The AHA went on to highlight the racial disparities in heart disease present in the United States, observing that “race itself” is not a risk factor, but “deep societal ills are hurting the hearts of black men and women in our nation.”

“The reality associated with the recent loss of black lives is hard,” the statement concluded. “The truth it reveals is profound. That truth cannot continue to go unheard. We are listening, hearing and redoubling our commitment to health disparities and societal inequities.”