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.
Dr. Uché Blackstock is an emergency medicine physician who is passionate about addressing the detrimental effects of structural racism on health outcomes. We discuss the origins of structural racism and how this continues to influence the health outcomes of minorities. She then gives us some tools for reflecting on our own biases and how we can work to address them. In addition to patient care, we talk about improving the diversity of faculty, and the importance of mentorship and sponsorship. We end by discussing something each of us can start doing tomorrow in order to address our own biases.
Dr. Blackstock went to Harvard for both undergrad and medical school, did her emergency medicine residency at SUNY Downstate/ King’s County Hospital Center and then a fellowship in ultrasound at St. Luke’s Roosevelt. She recently left her position as associate professor at NYU as well as the faculty director of recruitment, retention and inclusion at the office of diversity affairs at the medical school to focus entirely on her company Advancing Health Equity, which aims to partner with healthcare organizations to address some of the critical factors that contribute to health inequity, through educational trainings and racial equity culture analytics. She can be found at advancinghealthequity.com and on Twitter @dr_uche_bee.
The implicit bias test that she discussed can be found here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html