This is a flashpoint in our nation’s history and our positions as physicians endow us with a certain amount of respect and authority and with that authority comes responsibility. Responsibility to have difficult conversations. It is not uncommon for us to have difficult conversations, like breaking bad news, discussing an adverse health outcome, but these conversations are about others. We need to have difficult conversations about ourselves. We need to reflect on our own biases and how these can affect the health outcomes of our minority patients and career trajectories of our minority colleagues.
In light of current events, I have chosen to rerelease episodes from earlier this year that should be thought provoking and allow us to reflect on the ivory tower, conservative institution that is medicine and how we can help to move the needle to improve health outcomes for our minority patients and the careers of our minority colleagues. One way to improve the former, is to improve the latter.
Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako is a 5th year med student (out of 5) at the Yale School of Medicine and hosts his own podcast, Flip the Script, about healthcare disparities. He starts out discussing how some of what we learn about race being a risk factor for some diseases are a product of social constructs, not genetic predisposition. We then discuss racial disparities in substance-use disorder treatment. We then pivot from health disparities to physician training disparities. We learn about the hardships faced by minority medical students from microaggressions from students and faculty to disparities in grading and how this can affect career trajectory. He ends by discussing some pearls he has learned from his own podcast.
Mr. Tiako grew up in Yaounde, Cameroon, and moved to the US to attend Howard University, got a BS in in civil and environmental engineering and then a Masters in Bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently doing research connecting his civil/environmental engineering background to identify elements of urban design that can be leveraged to improve health outcomes and move the needle towards health equity. His research fellowship is at the Center for Emergency Care & Policy research at the University of Pennsylvania. He spends his free time writing about racism and medical education in the medical student magazine InTraining.
His Twitter handle: @MaxJordan_N
His podcast can be found here: