In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History Month, New Orleans EMS has created a pin to show support for their patients of color and the Black community in New Orleans.
NOEMS says, “Our goal is to provide high quality healthcare to every member of our society and bridge the health care gap in our community.
New Orleans has always been known for its diversity. Our beauty comes with our belief in equality and equity. As life and times often bring opposition our way, we continue to show resilience in unity.
We are first responders and members of our community. Whether in uniform or not, we dance in celebration with our people and stand in unison during hardship. We recognize the hardship that we are in at this time and the need to stand up, as we cannot be silent when it comes to the injustice that the Black community faces.
New Orleans EMS stays committed to providing the highest quality emergency medical care to the underserved and marginalized communities and all residents and visitors, every day. All lives can’t matter until black lives do.”
Dr. Emily Nichols, Director of New Orleans EMS says, “Emergency medical technicians are at the front of the front lines, witnessing societal inequity and care for those who are greatest impacted. Racial inequity was already known and well outlined by the New Orleans Health Department, but it has become especially evident during the peak of COVID-19. COVID has impacted all of our residents, but the disproportionate incident of disease in the Black and Latinx community is highly a product of years of social and economic disparity.”
According to the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, “A commitment to social justice means believing that everyone ought to be able to avoid preventable disease and escape premature death. Far too often, gross inequities mean that some groups succumb to disease and death disproportionately, while others’ advantages protect them, due to disparities in health care provision, political persecution, social strife, racial discrimination, and a plethora of other factors.”
Dr. Meg Marino, Deputy Director of New Orleans EMS notes, “Studies show that having a visual cue showing LGBTQ support can allow patients to know that they are with a provider they can trust. Last year, New Orleans EMS rolled out our Pride pins and badges as a way for our providers to show support for the LGBTQ community. Employees may choose to wear New Orleans EMS Pride pins on their uniform year-round to show our LGBTQ patients that we are allies. Some People of Color in our community are also reluctant to call for help from EMS because they are afraid. This year we created the New Orleans EMS Black Lives Matter pins to show support to our patients who are People of Color in hopes of showing that we are allies.“
The US Department of Transportation’s Office of EMS clearly outlined a vision for future, also known as the EMS Agenda 2050. One of the six guiding principles that was highlighted is the need to ensure socially equitable care. New Orleans EMS is actively working to meet this challenge and mitigate the negative impacts of social injustice. New Orleans EMS is coordinating trainings on unconscious bias, culturally competency in health, and reaching out the local organizations through our newly appointed Diversity and Equity Advocates (DEAs). However, since developing Pride pins in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, we have recognized the value of a visual symbol of support. To that end, we have developed a Black Lives Matter pin to support persons of color and racial equity in health.
“Our Black Lives Matter pins are worn as a reminder to us and our patients that we are committed to providing compassionate, culturally sensitive, and socially equitable care,” mentions Dr. Nichols, “The pins are in no way meant to diminish or dishonor the tireless work that our public safety partners perform each day. We believe that attention to access and inequity on the front end is the best way to decrease the burden on all first responders and improve the well-being of our community long-term.”