A recent publication in the Journal of Neurology caused significant outrage not only within a forum dedicated to Black doctors and trainees, but also in the medical community online at large. Much like the rest of the readers, I was deeply troubled and did not understand the purpose of the article.
To be clear, for black medical students, supporting Black Lives Matter and other health equality and social justice initiatives is not a matter of a professional oath. It is a matter of life or death, close or distant — that of a loved one or of a stranger of the same hue and shared struggles.
When I first read that the Northam picture came from a medical school yearbook, I thought about whoever might have been his Black classmates at the time.
I want my residents and attending physicians to be aware of the elements that have so far shaped my medical school experience–a certain racial awareness, if you will–and to be as enthusiastic about teaching me as I am about learning from them.
Being a medical student on clerkships often feels like performing on a stage while wearing a straitjacket. You’re unsure of how your personality and tics might be perceived, and the goal — besides absorbing as much knowledge as possible — is to make a good impression in order to land a good evaluation.
As institutions of higher learning are becoming increasingly diverse, the portraiture that hangs in these institutions should reflect the bodies that inhabit their halls. Here, I argue that recency is particularly needed in academic medicine, and will propose some strategies for achieving it in our academic medical centers.