Photo of Dr. Ben Danielson via Twitter
A prominent doctor at Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic revealed recently that he resigned citing racism and a lack of equitable care for Black patients.
Dr. Ben Danielson told Crosscut that one administrator used the “N” word toward him several years ago and called Asian people “j*ps.” That administrator reportedly remains with the hospital, although Danielson declined to name him.
Danielson has served as a medical director at the clinic for some 21 years
“The institution is replete with racism and a disregard for people who don’t look like them in leadership,” he told Crosscut.
“I have privilege enough that I should be somebody who says, ‘This is not okay,’” he said. “I’m privileged enough to know that this children’s hospital is not a unique organization, that these are all the same kinds of ills that many institutions have baked into their systems. And I understand that whatever I whine about personally and experiences I’ve had around leaders using hate speech and racial language relating to me, the experiences of low-income people of color are still miles worse than anything I experienced.”
According to the Seattle Times, a group of local leaders including several people on the city council urged hospital leaders to conduct an external investigation into the matter.
The Business Journal reported several signed a letter to the hospital which stated:
“To address the aforementioned issues, we are requesting two things: 1)Seattle Children’s Board of Trustees appoint an independent external legal firm to convene and oversee an ad hoc committee, including Board of Trustee members and external stakeholders, to investigate the allegations of racism in Dr. Danielson’s letter to OBCC staff and 2)a virtual meeting with you to discuss how Seattle Children’s will address the aforementioned concerns regarding the Hospital’s commitment to Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. We represent donors and other concerned people in this community, region and state, and on their behalf are asking youto provide answers as soon as possible. The seriousness of our concerns requires more than a written statement.”
Seattle Children’s Hospital said it respected Danielson decision to leave, said it had investigated these claims a decade ago and pledged to do so again.
“As an organization we are committed to racial equity, diversity and inclusion while also holding ourselves accountable and continuing to do the work required to address systemic racism when and where it exists,” it said in a statement. “We are deeply committed to our OBCC community and looking forward to increasing access to its services through the expansion of our second OBCC clinic later next year.”
The Grio cited several tweets of support from some of Danielson’s colleagues.
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