Dr. Uché Blackstock
Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, emergency physician, and bestselling author of Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine
Photo credit: Diane Zhao
About Uché Blackstock
Dr. Uché Blackstock is an emergency physician with over 17 years of experience and a second-generation Harvard graduate. She is the founder of Advancing Health Equity, an organization dedicated to dismantling racism in healthcare. She is also an MSNBC medical contributor and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine.
Dr. Blackstock is a respected thought leader on bias and racism in healthcare. Described by Forbes as, “a growing voice that is bringing to light and offering solutions to unconscious bias and structural racism among healthcare organizations,” she speaks to organizations across all sectors about the intersection of medicine, health equity, and systemic racism.
In her memoir, Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine, Dr. Blackstock uses a personal lens to tell a broader story about race in America, raising a call to action for health equity. The book is her odyssey from child to medical student to practicing physician—to finally seizing her own power as a health equity advocate against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the 1980s, Dr. Blackstock’s mother headed an organization of Black woman physicians who cared for patients and the broader community. Dr. Blackstock and her twin sister followed in their mother’s footsteps and headed to Harvard Medical School, making them the first Black mother-daughter legacies from the school. With only about 6 percent of physicians being Black, and only 3 percent being Black women, the Blackstock sisters were making history.
What Dr. Blackstock did not learn at Harvard was that the lack of diversity among physicians has a direct impact on patient care. Black Americans have far worse health outcomes than any other group in the country. One striking example: Citing a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the New York Times reported that “the richest Black mothers and their babies are twice as likely to die as the richest white mothers and their babies.”
Dr. Blackstock’s writing, including numerous OpEds, has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, The Washington Post and STAT News for the Boston Globe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she appeared regularly on radio and cable news programming to amplify the message around racial health inequities, including with CNN, NPR Morning Edition, The Brian Lehrer Show, Dr. Oz, The New York Times, and has been featured recently on PBS NewsHour and in Essence, as well as on panels at Afropunk and Essence Fest.
Dr. Blackstock is a former associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the former faculty director for recruitment, retention, and inclusion in the Office of Diversity Affairs at NYU School of Medicine. She received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University, making her and her twin sister, Oni, the first Black mother-daughter legacies from Harvard Medical School.
Healthcare and Systemic Racism: Where and Why They Intersect
As an ER physician and one of the country’s leading health equity advocates, Dr. Uché Blackstock has a deep and hands-on understanding of how systemic racism is affecting the health of BIPOC communities across the country. From well-documented research that shows how clinicians of all races underestimate Black patients’ pain to the consequences that substandard housing can have on health, Dr. Blackstock opens her audience’s eyes to the social determinants of health and why we cannot reform healthcare without addressing systemic racism.
Unpacking Legacy: From the Personal to the Systemic
In this powerful and personal talk, Dr. Uché Blackstock unpacks the legacy that has shaped and guides her. The personal legacy of following in her mother’s footsteps and going to medical school, making Dr. Blackstock and her twin sister the first Black mother-daughter legacies at that school. And the institutional legacy of confronting the systemic racism embedded into all parts of medical system—from the medical school education to the safety of BIPOC practitioners.
This eye-opening and compassionate keynote is as relevant to audiences from the medical field as it is to audiences without a healthcare background who are interested in social justice and gaining a deeper understanding of structural inequities.
Taking a Leap of Faith: From Medicine to Entrepreneurship
In 2019, Dr. Uché Blackstock made the difficult decision to leave academic medicine and start her own organization, Advancing Health Equity. Having endured and witnessed first-hand the racism and sexism embedded in healthcare, Dr. Blackstock knew she needed to speak truth to power and find a new way to have an impact. She took a leap of faith and became an entrepreneur, helping health care organizations to diversify their workforce and fight healthcare inequity. In this powerful talk, geared toward new and experienced entrepreneurs, and anyone launching a new endeavor, Dr. Blackstock tells her personal story and why her decision was exactly what she needed to do.
Praise for Uché Blackstock
Praise for Legacy
Uché Blackstock has made something abundantly clear: If you want to understand a society, look at its hospitals. Dr. Blackstock, one of the most insightful and impactful public voices in medicine, shares her remarkable personal story and her profound insight regarding race, gender, and health inequality. We meet a person who is vulnerable, human, and brilliant. However, this book is so much more than a compelling memoir. These are marching orders. Armed with concrete steps for addressing inequality, readers will be inspired to become better stewards of our communities and society. Simply put, Legacy makes room for us to freedom dream anew.— Imani Perry, National Book Award-winning author of South to America
Legacy is both a compelling memoir and an edifying analysis of the inequities in the way we deliver healthcare in America. Uché Blackstock is a force of nature.— Abraham Verghese, MD, author of The Covenant of Water and Cutting for Stone
Books by Uché Blackstock
Media About Uché Blackstock
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“Legacy is an illuminating and stirring journey of a book. The illuminating: the devastating cycle of racism in our healthcare system. The stirring: the inimitable family and career of Dr. Uché Blackstock and her quest to dismantle medical racism.”
—Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist