Many thanks to the Office of Faculty of Development for hosting Augustus A. White, III, MD, former Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School professor and author of Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care. On June 23rd, Dr. White conducted a workshop at Children’s entitled What Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Would Want Us to Know About Health Care Disparities, which focused on the catastrophic problem of health care inequality in the United States.
At the beginning of the workshop Dr. White presented a list of different groups of people who face health care disparities in America, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, obese individuals, the elderly, homosexual and bisexual individuals, and women, among others. Dr. White further illustrated the breadth of health care inequality by explaining that unless someone is white, male, fit and straight, that person is in danger of facing health care discrimination.
Although he painted a bleak picture of the state of health care inequality in the United States, Dr. White was also armed with suggestions for health care workers to use in trying to overcome this massive issue. By understanding and acknowledging our conscious and unconscious biases and trying to identify with patients on a common human level, Dr. White proposes that health care workers can make strides in shrinking the level of disparity currently experienced by the majority of the population. Dr. White’s engaging workshop was effective in addressing the urgency of health care disparities while providing hope for greater equality through the efforts of those who work to provide care to a diverse population of Americans.
Seeing Patients is available for checkout at the hospital library.
Futher reading as recommended by Dr. White:
Doing Race, by Hazel Rose Marcus and Paula M. L. Moya
The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, by Shankar Vedantam
Health Care, Politics and Policy in America, by Kant Patel
and Mark E. Rushefsky