Health equity means everyone has the same access to the care and treatment they need to live a healthy and pain-free life. These doctors and social justice experts look at our current healthcare system to discuss the disparities and inequalities that have disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority groups, providing actionable plans to achieve equality, inclusion, and the highest level of health for all people.
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 affects 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.
As an emergency room physician, Dr. Michele Harper often experiences firsthand the repercussions of systemic racism and sexism in the medical field. Anti-Black and anti-woman policies and prejudices do not only lead to disparities in care for already disadvantaged populations, but when the face of expertise is perceived as exclusively white and male, Black doctors and their patients suffer the consequences. Dr. Harper addresses the inequalities health providers face at the hands of patients, employers, licensing boards, and more. She also explores the importance of dismantling bigotry on a personal and structural level, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing inequalities.
Health disparities have existed long before COVID-19. In his research, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi has examined how communities of color have disproportionately high rates of heart and respiratory diseases, and cancer. The pandemic exacerbated the disparities, highlighting new levels of racial inequity. Partnering with COVID Tracking Project, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and the Boston University for Antiracism Research, spearheaded the COVID Racial Tracker, which reveals how Black Americans were dying from coronavirus at a rate more than twice that of white Americans. He addresses how racist policies persist, urges for more access to free and high-quality healthcare, and calls for new policies that eliminate or heal such racial disparities.
With experience in clinical practice, working at the White House, and as an entrepreneur, Dr. Thomas Fisher is an expert on America’s healthcare system. From providing care to wait times to accessibility, he has seen firsthand the racial and wealth disparities within our nation’s hospitals. In his thought-provoking lectures, he speaks on how a three-tiered pandemic (COVID-19, homicides, and economic crises) has exacerbated the longstanding and increasingly fraught inequities in access, and provides a much-needed primer for his fresh vision of healthcare as a foundation of social justice.
Using her well-informed research for Caste, Isabel Wilkerson shares how this artificial division that continues to plague society contributes to health injustice. She explains how the disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and historic deaths among Black and Latino communities was a direct result of the structural and systemic racist societal divisions. She highlights the differences in access to health care and treatments, quality of care, culturally competent resources and research, and advocates for necessary changes to policies and system-level structures to build a more equitable and just health care system.