It’s Black History month! From Daniel Hale Williams’ innovations in cardiology to Kwabena Bohen’s inventions in biochemistry, African Americans have helped advance the medical field in more ways than one.
This month is dedicated to celebrating those innovators as well as the works, movements, and initiatives Black activists have created to promote racial equality and justice. Fannie Lou Hamer, for example, fought for women’s rights, voting rights, and brought national attention to the forced sterilizations happening in the South–a procedure she was unfortunately a victim to.
And although there have been great improvements since the 1960s, racism in the medical industry is still a prevalent issue and stands in the way of health equity. Racism and racial bias in the medical industry stems from centuries of racism in the country and has led to unequal treatment that prevents communities of color from accessing the tools, resources, and treatments they need to lead healthier lives.
Public health organizations such as The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have created campaigns and resources for ending racial discrimination in health care. Checking out their resources are a great way to start, but there are other things you can do to spot the signs of racial bias and help end discrimination.
How to Fight Racial Bias in Health Care
- Recognize the signs of bias. These may include the provider:
- Quickly dismissing your feedback or concerns
- Spending little or no time examining the area of concern
- Standing far away from you
- Exhibiting closed body language
- Making stereotypical assumptions about your life, diet, or experiences
- Report any unethical behavior or mistreatment to your state health department
- Share your experiences with others