Skip to content

Surgeon's memoir calls for an end to health disparities

My colleague recently linked to a list of recommended science- and medicine-related books. When vacationing last week, I read about another title that may also be worthy of inclusion.

Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care is the memoir of Harvard orthopedic surgeon Augustus White III, MD, PhD - described by the Associated Press as "the first African-American to graduate from Stanford Medical School, the first African-American resident and surgery professor at Yale and later the first black department head at Harvard's teaching hospitals." (We wrote about White in a 2006 piece in Stanford Medicine.)

AP writer Russell Contreras describes the book as not only highlighting White's path, which began with a childhood in segregated Memphis, but also serving as a call to increase diversity in medicine and to end health-care disparities in the U.S. (White refers to the latter as "the last frontier of racial prejudice.") And in the book, White outlines his solution: a focus on "culturally competent care" - which involves health professionals being responsive to "different values, language barriers and attitudes of patients that could influence how health care is received."

Previously: Vector offers recommended reading for the holidays

Popular posts

Biomedical research
Stanford immunologist pushes field to shift its research focus from mice to humans

Much of what we know about the immune system comes from experiments conducted on mice.  But lab mice are not little human beings. The two species are separated by both physiology and  lifestyles. Stanford immunologist Mark Davis is calling on his colleagues to shift their research focus to people.