Boston Area Chapter of HPNA

A Statement on Human Rights and Racial Justice and An Invitation To The Conversation

Posted 24 days ago

Dear Members, Associates and Supporters-

The Board of the Boston Chapter of the HPNA wants to share with you our recognition of and reflection of the current human rights and racial justice movement happening in the US and abroad. We want to share the formal response of the National Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association on the Protection of Human Rights: 

 “HPNA Promotes Resources for Collaboration with the Public in the Protection of Human Rights

The Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA) condemns racism, immoral police conduct, slow-moving reformation of policing practices, and reactionary violence, even if born out of understandable frustration over injustice. 

The circumstances involved with the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor were abhorrent. The continued effects of systemic racism and injustice impact every part of our lives, including the safety and health of those whose care is entrusted to nurses. 

As nurses, it is important for us to honor our responsibilities as noted in Provision 8 of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses, which states, "The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities."

 In response to ANA President Grant's call to action and in order to put into practice the ethical tenet of collaboration with the public, HPNA encourages the utilization of resources such as:

The protection of human rights and the reduction of health care disparities are cornerstones of HPNA's mission to advance expert care.”

We also want to share resources related to racial justice made available by The Conversation Project and The Statement on Racism and the Killing of George Floyd from the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care. 

In the United States (US), Black and brown people face disproportionately high mortality rates from COVID19. demonstrating again the impact of inequity in access to health resources for minority communities. We also know that hospice services in the US are used by a predominantly white patient population (82.5%) with African Americans accounting for only 8.2% of patients receiving hospice care (NHPCO Facts and Figures, revised 2019).  Black people in this country are also dealing with enormous generational trauma and grief – we are all now bearing witness to that grief being expressed and turned into action. As hospice and palliative care professionals, we can honor this grief by increasing our understanding of racial justice as a healthcare issue - and now is an opportunity to listen, reflect and learn.

In one concrete step to learn together, we are kicking off a new (hopefully annual!) Summer Book Group with a focus on the courageous conversations needed today. The 2020 Summer Book Group will be held via Zoom, and we will read and discuss White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. With the book choice this year, we hope to collectively think and talk about racism, increase our understanding of systemic racism, confront racial inequality, and how we can apply these skills to improve care for every patient living with serious illness.  We do not begin to imagine or to presume that reading a book will resolve any of these enormous and complex issues. We DO believe that reading and conversation is an important step in helping us give ourselves better tools to do the work of achieving equity and justice.   

 White Fragility is available to borrow from Boston Public Library via the Libby App in both audio and ebook format and hopefully in other community libraries for those that don’t own the book. 

Full details for the book group will follow in a separate announcement.  We welcome your suggestions, questions, and feedback.  


Board of the Boston Chapter of the HPNA