New York City, Founding Director, Eastern Virginia Medical School discussed on Brian Lehrer

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The apology given last weekend by Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam over the offensive black face and clan costume yearbook photo that came to light north and said he won't step down. But the top two Virginia politicians who would replace north defending their own controversies over a sexual assault allegation. And another instance of black face the state is in political turmoil. But let's turn our attention. Now back to the medical school yearbook where the picture was published CNN reported that the nineteen Eighty-four yearbook in question at the eastern Virginia medical school or less contained several other racist images and that racially insensitive pictures in two thousand thirteen prompted the dean, Richard Holman to ban yearbooks altogether. Here. He is at a news conference this week as you know, the past EMS yearbooks contain. Shockingly appoint pictures that are anesthetic to the values and principles over professions. Some are shockingly racist some repugnant and others are professional inappropriate. We all recognize that racism and discrimination has no place in our society and certainly not in a health sciences institution. So the school has promised a full investigation. But many wonder how such racially insensitive images images were left unnoticed or unchecked for so long. And what does that signal of that race and racism in medicine if multiple racist images were considered fair game for so long who are these white doctors, and what are the locations for black patients with me now, Dr aletha may Bank. She is the founding director of the center of health equity, which is part of the New York City health department, Dr Maybank welcome to WNYC. Thank you. Glad to be here race and health are so intertwined should this conversation. Start. Well, this conversation. I mean, we can start at, you know, the incident itself, and I think you know, what does really demonstrates is that our medical schools across the country from being a medical student at one point in time myself are particularly challenged due to their pretty homogeneous student bodies that are made up predominantly white middle class upper students fairly ethnocentric by which people are evaluated, according to standards of the dominant culture, and and whiteness, and we know in medical schools that the proportion of blacks, Latinos and native Americans in medical schools does not mirror that of undergraduate programs blacks have the lowest admission rates blocks Tinos make up about eleven percent of the medical school graduates while representing more than thirty percent of the population states and only about ten percent of addition workforce. And so, you know, this is something that the medical culture definitely has to tackle. Because diversity, absolutely. Impacts patient care. That's given as well as patient quality. There is plenty of evidence. Over the years that demonstrates it demonstrates that physicians have been less likely to prescribe pain meds for black adults that's likely to prescribe antibiotics, doc shoulder and less likely to recommend standard of care for procedures for blacks and actually in twenty thirteen the institute of medicine, which is now the National Academy of sciences published a landmark study called unequal treatment where they recognized and they could all the literature together and found that a large body of research really revealed that people of color experience, low lower quality of services and Stacey Abrams during her state of the union response. This week talked about black women's poor outcomes in childbirth. How does race impact the outcomes with respect to how it intersects with medical care? Absolutely. It's a great point that she highlighted during her speech, very happy to hear that. And it gets in the conversation about a lot of folks tend to go to class or poverty as a reason why, you know, bad health outcomes, you know, we're currently exists. But the reality is at poverty like health is an outcome. Therefore, we have to really question what creates established establishes poverty in the first place. So we have to look at the root causes such as the political structural historical, cultural and societal factors all of which have been greatly influenced by our country's powerful system of racism, and politically this is really the leading lens of how decisions have been made around who's deserving who is not. And if we look at as an example, we know that home ownership is one of the the great is to be one of the great wealth builders for people in this country. However, this has not been the reality for blacks due to racist policies and practices such as redlining that prevented blocks from actually getting loans to to buy homes and this prevented blacks from building wealth. While whites were able to kind of go to the suburbs. Buy homes, and build wealth, and this has had an impact on income wealth where people can live and their health. And then this translate specifically to help data when we look in New York City, racial inequities still persists despite educational outcomes and income so black women or three times more likely to experience a severe event in childbirth than white women finish remains even after education was taken into account. And in fact, black women with college degrees or higher had higher rates of complications at birth and white women of all other races who did not graduate from high school? Listeners we can take some phone calls for Dr aletha may Bank founding director of center the center of health equity from the New York City health department about race and racism in medicine your stories your questions two one two four three three WNYC two one two four three three nine six nine to even in one thousand nine hundred eighty four it was late for people to be dressing in black face. But even in the twenty thirteen yearbook EVS students were making light of you know, we're we're posting racially racist images in that yearbook. How how where did you go to school med school, doctor may Bank, and how shocked are you by these revelations? I I went to med school at temple University School of medicine in Philadelphia. How shocked him? I I'm not. I'm not totally shocked. I think many of us I'm I'm identified as a black woman, and I've experienced racism towards me I've seen institutions also project racism as well. And I think, you know, medical culture is not alone in experiencing these acts of racism, most institutions that hold power or historically white and economically upper class actually be the culture of exclusivity, even if people are in positions of power on and we're talking about structural systemic racist for the dachshunds that really helped tenure for for decades. And so it's important to note that you know for this. You know, it's it's more typical for an individual active overt racism such as wearing black face or costume to get more attention mostly because it's covered. There are many more acts of interpersonal racism that occurs towards students of color. Pretty consistent basis that's similar to larger society the challenge and the opportunity here is to make sure that we do not only focus on the individual and interpersonal acts of racism, but recognize that racism is embedded within our institutions and our structures the laws that you know, that govern us, and it's that institutional racism that we need to really address that medical schools are neither dress moving forward. So in medical schools are race and racism talked about constructively, including institutional racism that might even be implicit or unintentional. Well, what we're starting to see? Now, definitely, you know compared to when I was in medical school. We didn't really talk about race and racism most most people didn't across the country. Now, you definitely see way. More people way, more med schools, addressing racism, pretty explicitly from having courses within their classes on implicit bias or anti-racism. And we also see I'm schools that have organized and their students have organized to demand faculty and that faculty had anti-racism training. I mean, there've been enough reports now by the association of American Medical colleges, you know, stating the reality of medical schools, the lack of diversity the physician workforce. And that, you know, there is a responsibility on the medical school to really step up, and and work in a land that is promoting equity and not just diversity and inclusion. Asian equity will continue in a minute with Dr aletha Maybank founding director of the center for health equity and the New York City health department will include your calls stay with us. Next time on the New Yorker radio.

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