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Addressing racial bias in wards

Authors Tsai J, Brooks K, DeAndrade S, Ucik L, Bartlett S, Osobamiro O, Wynter J, Krishna G, Rougas S, George P

Received 6 December 2017

Accepted for publication 19 March 2018

Published 21 September 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 691—696


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder

Jennifer Tsai,1 Katherine Brooks,2 Samantha DeAndrade,2 Laura Ucik,3 Stacy Bartlett,1 Oyinkansola Osobamiro,1 Jamila Wynter,2 Gopika Krishna,4 Steven Rougas,1 Paul George1

1Department of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA; 2Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; 3Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, USA; 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA

Abstract: Health disparities fall along racial lines, in part, due to structural inequalities limiting health care access. The concept of race is often taught in health professions education with a clear biologic underpinning despite the significant debate in the literature as to whether race is a social or biologic construct. The teaching of race as a biologic construct, however, allows for the simplification of race as a risk factor for disease. As health care providers, it is part of our professional responsibility and duty to patients to think and talk about race in a way that is cognizant of broader historical, political, and cultural literature and context. Openly discussing the topic of race in medicine is not only uncomfortable but also difficult given its controversies and complicated context. In response, we provide several evidence-based steps to guide discussions around race in clinical settings, while also hopefully limiting the use of bias and racism in the practice of medicine.

Keywords: racism, racial bias, inequality, health justice

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