The first list of resources was adapted from the Anti-Racism Summer Reading Program for Incoming Medical Students, compiled by Elizabeth Stein, Alyna Khan, Andy Wen, Lee McKoin, Mark Snowden M.D. M.P.H., Janelle Clauser M.D., Cicely White M.D., Heidi Combs M.D. M.S. Contact Elizabeth Stein, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information about the curriculum.
Many of these suggestions come either from catalog searches, or from many suggestions on Twitter (#MedTwitter #MedEd).
Also thanks to NYU's Tiffany E. Cook and Dr. Terri-Ann M. Bennett for their valuable suggestions.
Open Access Consensus Study Report (National Academies of Sciences)
Racial and ethnic disparities in health care are known to reflect access to care and other issues that arise from differing socioeconomic conditions. There is, however, increasing evidence that even after such differences are accounted for, race and ethnicity remain significant predictors of the quality of health care received.
In Unequal Treatment, a panel of experts documents this evidence and explores how persons of color experience the health care environment. The book examines how disparities in treatment may arise in health care systems and looks at aspects of the clinical encounter that may contribute to such disparities. Patients' and providers' attitudes, expectations, and behavior are analyzed.
How to intervene? Unequal Treatment offers recommendations for improvements in medical care financing, allocation of care, availability of language translation, community-based care, and other arenas. The committee highlights the potential of cross-cultural education to improve provider-patient communication and offers a detailed look at how to integrate cross-cultural learning within the health professions. The book concludes with recommendations for data collection and research initiatives. Unequal Treatment will be vitally important to health care policymakers, administrators, providers, educators, and students as well as advocates for people of color.
eBooks from our catalog
Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy RobertsA decade after the Human Genome Project proved that human beings are not naturally divided by race, the emerging fields of personalized medicine, reproductive technologies, genetic genealogy, and DNA databanks are attempting to resuscitate race as a biological category written in our genes. In this provocative analysis, leading legal scholar and social critic Dorothy Roberts argues that America is once again at the brink of a virulent outbreak of classifying population by race. By searching for differences at the molecular level, a new race-based science is obscuring racism in our society and legitimizing state brutality against communities of color at a time when America claims to be post-racial. Moving from an account of the evolution of race—proving that it has always been a mutable and socially defined political division supported by mainstream science—Roberts delves deep into the current debates, interrogating the newest science and biotechnology, interviewing its researchers, and exposing the political consequences obscured by the focus on genetic difference. Fatal Invention is a provocative call for us to affirm our common humanity.
Publication Date: 2011-06-14
Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy As a Site of Racialization by Khiara M. Bridges; Khiara BridgesDescription from the publisher:
Reproducing Race, an ethnography of pregnancy and birth at a large New York City public hospital, explores the role of race in the medical setting. Khiara M. Bridges investigates how race--commonly seen as biological in the medical world--is socially constructed among women dependent on the public healthcare system for prenatal care and childbirth. Bridges argues that race carries powerful material consequences for these women even when it is not explicitly named, showing how they are marginalized by the practices and assumptions of the clinic staff. Deftly weaving ethnographic evidence into broader discussions of Medicaid and racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality, Bridges shines new light on the politics of healthcare for the poor, demonstrating how the "medicalization" of social problems reproduces racial stereotypes and governs the bodies of poor women of color.
Publication Date: 2011-03-18
Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics by Lundy BraunIn the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic. In Breathing Race into the Machine, science studies scholar Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the social and scientific processes by which medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. Routinely a factor in clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates, spirometers are often “race corrected,” typically reducing normal values for African Americans by 15 percent. An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, Breathing Race into the Machine helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.
(description from publisher)
Publication Date: 2014-02-01
Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth by Dána-Ain DavisA troubling study of the role that medical racism plays in the lives of black women who have given birth to premature and low birth weight infants Black women have higher rates of premature birth than other women in America. This cannot be simply explained by economic factors, with poorer women lacking resources or access to care. Even professional, middle-class black women are at a much higher risk of premature birth than low-income white women in the United States. Dána-Ain Davis looks into this phenomenon, placing racial differences in birth outcomes into a historical context, revealing that ideas about reproduction and race today have been influenced by the legacy of ideas which developed during the era of slavery. While poor and low-income black women are often the "mascots" of premature birth outcomes, this book focuses on professional black women, who are just as likely to give birth prematurely.
Publication Date: 2019-06-25
Black and Blue: The Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism by John HobermanBlack & Blue is the first systematic description of how American doctors think about racial differences and how this kind of thinking affects the treatment of their black patients. The standard studies of medical racism examine past medical abuses of black people and do not address the racially motivated thinking and behaviors of physicians practicing medicine today. Black & Blue penetrates the physician's private sphere where racial fantasies and misinformation distort diagnoses and treatments. Doctors have always absorbed the racial stereotypes and folkloric beliefs about racial differences that permeate the general population. Within the world of medicine this racial folklore has infiltrated all of the medical sub-disciplines, from cardiology to gynecology to psychiatry. Doctors have thus imposed white or black racial identities upon every organ system of the human body, along with racial interpretations of black children, the black elderly, the black athlete, black musicality, black pain thresholds, and other aspects of black minds and bodies. The American medical establishment does not readily absorb either historical or current information about medical racism. For this reason, racial enlightenment will not reach medical schools until the current race-aversive curricula include new historical and sociological perspectives.
(description from publisher)
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination by Alondra NelsonDescription from the publisher:
Between its founding in 1966 and its formal end in 1980, the Black Panther Party blazed a distinctive trail in American political culture. The Black Panthers are most often remembered for their revolutionary rhetoric and militant action. Here Alondra Nelson deftly recovers an indispensable but lesser-known aspect of the organization’s broader struggle for social justice: health care. The Black Panther Party’s health activism—its network of free health clinics, its campaign to raise awareness about genetic disease, and its challenges to medical discrimination—was an expression of its founding political philosophy and also a recognition that poor blacks were both underserved by mainstream medicine and overexposed to its harms. Drawing on extensive historical research as well as interviews with former members of the Black Panther Party, Nelson argues that the Party’s focus on health care was both practical and ideological. Building on a long tradition of medical self-sufficiency among African Americans, the Panthers’ People’s Free Medical Clinics administered basic preventive care, tested for lead poisoning and hypertension, and helped with housing, employment, and social services. In 1971, the party launched a campaign to address sickle-cell anemia. In addition to establishing screening programs and educational outreach efforts, it exposed the racial biases of the medical system that had largely ignored sickle-cell anemia, a disease that predominantly affected people of African descent. The Black Panther Party’s understanding of health as a basic human right and its engagement with the social implications of genetics anticipated current debates about the politics of health and race. That legacy—and that struggle—continues today in the commitment of health activists and the fight for universal health care.
Publication Date: 2011-01-01
Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference by Anne PollockFrom the publisher:
In Medicating Race, Anne Pollock traces the intersecting discourses of race, pharmaceuticals, and heart disease in the United States over the past century, from the founding of cardiology through the FDA's approval of BiDil, the first drug sanctioned for use in a specific race. She examines wide-ranging aspects of the dynamic interplay of race and heart disease: articulations, among the founders of American cardiology, of heart disease as a modern, and therefore white, illness; constructions of "normal" populations in epidemiological research, including the influential Framingham Heart Study; debates about the distinctiveness African American hypertension, which turn on disparate yet intersecting arguments about genetic legacies of slavery and the comparative efficacy of generic drugs; and physician advocacy for the urgent needs of black patients on professional, scientific, and social justice grounds. Ultimately, Pollock insists that those grappling with the meaning of racialized medical technologies must consider not only the troubled history of race and biomedicine but also its fraught yet vital present. Medical treatment should be seen as a site of, rather than an alternative to, political and social contestation. The aim of scholarly analysis should not be to settle matters of race and genetics, but to hold medicine more broadly accountable to truth and justice.
Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina StringsDescription from the publisher:
How the female body has been racialized for over two hundred years There is an obesity epidemic in this country and poor black women are particularly stigmatized as "diseased" and a burden on the public health care system. This is only the most recent incarnation of the fear of fat black women, which Sabrina Strings shows took root more than two hundred years ago. Strings weaves together an eye-opening historical narrative ranging from the Renaissance to the current moment, analyzing important works of art, newspaper and magazine articles, and scientific literature and medical journals--where fat bodies were once praised--showing that fat phobia, as it relates to black women, did not originate with medical findings, but with the Enlightenment era belief that fatness was evidence of "savagery" and racial inferiority. The author argues that the contemporary ideal of slenderness is, at its very core, racialized and racist. Indeed, it was not until the early twentieth century, when racialized attitudes against fatness were already entrenched in the culture, that the medical establishment began its crusade against obesity. An important and original work, Fearing the Black Body argues convincingly that fat phobia isn't about health at all, but rather a means of using the body to validate race, class, and gender prejudice.
Publication Date: 2019-05-07
Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care by Dayna Bowen MatthewOffers an innovative plan to eliminate inequalities in the American health care and save the lives they endanger Over 84,000 black and brown lives are needlessly lost each year due to health disparities: the unfair, unjust, and avoidable differences between the quality and quantity of health care provided to Americans who are members of racial and ethnic minorities and care provided to whites.
Technology and the Logic of American Racism: A Cultural History of the Body As Evidence by Sarah E. ChinnDescription
In this book, Sarah E. Chinn pulls together what seems to be opposite discourses--the information-driven languages of law and medicine and the subjective logics of racism--to examine how racial identity has been constructed in the United States over the past century. She examines a range of primary social case studies such as the American Red Cross' lamentable decision to segregate the blood of black and white donors during World War II, and its ramifications for American culture, and more recent examples that reveal the racist nature of criminology, such as the recent trial of O.J. Simpson. Among several key American literary texts, she looks at Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, a novel whose plot turns on issues of racial identity and which was written at a time when scientific and popular interest in evidence of the body, such as fingerprinting, was at a peak.
Books at the NYU Sid and Ruth Lapidus Health Sciences Library
Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. WashingtonThis revealing and informative study traces the convoluted history of medical experimentation on Black Americans in the USA since the middle of the eighteenth century. In an engaging narrative, Harriet A. Washington forcefully argues that diverse forms of racial discrimination have shaped both the relationship between white physicians and black patients and the attitude of the latter towards modern medicine in general. The book is divided into three parts: the first engages with the cultural memory of medical experimentation; the second examines recent cases of medical abuse and research; while the last addresses the complex relationship between racism and medicine.
Marius Turda, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Social History of Medicine, Volume 20, Issue 3, December 2007, Pages 620–621, https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkm086
Call Number: R853.H8 W37 2006
Publication Date: 2007-01-09
Black Man in a White Coat: a doctor's reflections on race and medicine by Damon TweedyWhen Tweedy began medical school, he envisioned a bright future where his segregated, working-class background would become irrelevant. Instead he found himself grappling with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black Americans, and met a professor who bluntly questioned whether he belonged in medical school. In examining the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of most health problems in the black community.
Throughout history, the field of medicine has taught its students to pathologize bodies deemed as Other. As we begin to confront these lineages, many people remained pushed to the edges of priority. In reality, those who are commonly viewed as marginal to society represent a major core of the American patient population. This resource list asks us to re-center those who are seen as distinct, as special cases—people of color, queer and transgender/non-binary folks, people with disabilities, etc.—and place them at the forefront of our minds and practice as future or current physicians. We share this document with the claim that the following topics, issues, and histories are not supplementary, but rather fundamental to the study of medicine.
The problem with race-based medicine | Dorothy Roberts
How racism makes us sick | David R. Williams
Why your doctor should care about social justice | Mary Bassett