End the duopoly

Black women account for less than 3% of U.S. doctors. Is health care finally ready to face racism and sexism?

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“People think of medicine as innovative and pushing the limits—but it’s probably one of the most conservative environments that I’ve ever been in,” Uché Blackstock says. Uché Blackstock’s experience at her last employer might sound depressingly familiar to many Black employees across corporate America .

An emergency physician who spent eight years as an assistant professor at New York University’s School of Medicine, Blackstock is also a Black woman who saw the many ways in which racism and sexism damaged the health of her patients. Determined to make a difference, she started running training sessions about unconscious bias at her medical school and elsewhere, and eventually became the faculty director of recruitment, retention, and inclusion for NYU’s office of diversity affairs. But while the extra work she took on is critical to addressing long-standing problems in medicine—a field that underserves patients of color and includes vanishingly few Black or Latinx doctors—Blackstock says her contributions were undervalued by colleagues and superiors who weren’t personally affected by unconscious—or conscious—bias.

“People think of medicine as innovative and pushing the limits—but it’s probably one of the most conservative environments that I’ve ever been in,” Blackstock says. “It’s very resistant to change.”

By the end of 2019, […]

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