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This is a page with resources for promoting anti-racism and supporting diversity and inclusion in the health sciences. If you're looking more broadly, for information on anti-racism in STEM, please see the page, Diversity and Anti-Racism in STEM. And if you're looking for information on anti-racism in general, please check out our Anti-Racism Research Subject Guide.
On this guide, there are five sections, each with a selection of resources and a link to a larger list: Articles and Web Resources, Books, Podcasts, Organizations, and Institutes and Organizations at Northeastern.
The resources listed here are not comprehensive, and they inevitably reflect the biases of the various creators. They are intended to provide guidance to a wide variety of resources within the Health Sciences. This page is by no means exhaustive and will be continuously updated. Please reach out to us with your feedback and suggestions.
Articles and Web Resources
Below are a selection of articles and web resources related to anti-racism and supporting diversity in the health sciences. It is not meant to be comprehensive. For more research articles, try searching within the library's databases related to your discipline. You can also try some of the suggested databases on the Anti-Racism Guide.
On Racism: A New Standard For Publishing On Racial Health Inequities
An article written by Rhea W. Boyd, Edwin G. Lindo, Lachelle D. Weeks and Monica R. McLemore published in Health Affairs on July 2, 2020.
Racism in Medicine and Healthcare
A guide to anti-racist resources at UNLV and beyond to promote racial and ethnic equity in medicine and healthcare
The Misuse of Race in Medical Diagnosis
An article written by Richard S. Garcia published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on May 9, 2003.
Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions
An article by Zinzi D. Bailey, Nancy Krieger, Madina Agénor, Jasmine Graves, Natalia Linos, and Mary T. Bassett published in The Lancet in April 2017.
Naming Institutionalized Racism in the Public Health Literature: A Systematic Literature Review
An article written by Rachel R. Hardeman, Katy A. Murphy, J’Mag Karbeah, and Katy Backes Kozhimannil published in Public Health Reports on April 3, 2018.
A Progressive's Style Guide
This resource was created by Hanna Thomas and Anna Hirsch in 2016 and covers language in areas such as age, disability, environment and science, health, and more.
10 simple rules for building an antiracist lab
An article written by Dr. V. Bala Chaudhary and Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe published in PLoS Computational Biology in October 2020.
gage. Discover Brilliance
A resource for journalists, educators, policy makers and others seeking the expertise of women and gender minorities STEMM professionals.
Below are a selection of podcast episodes, series, and seasons relevant to racism in the health sciences. This is not a comprehensive list. For more resources, please visit our Anti-Racism Research Subject Guide.
You're Wrong About: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Mike tells Sarah about the longest "non-therapeutic" experiment in medical history. As a warning, this episode contains long quotes from eugenic memos and detailed descriptions of medical racism.
Cite Black Women: Black Women and Health Equity, Spotlight on Black Maternal Health and COVID-19
CBW Collective member Dr. Whitney Pirtle speaks with Dr. Monica McLemore about her career trajectory, moving from her long-time position as a clinical public health nurse to becoming a prominent researcher on Black maternal health and reproductive justice. They discuss the importance of centering and listening to Black women in reaching health equity, and why this matters especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
1619: How the Bad Blood Started
Black Americans were denied access to doctors and hospitals for decades. From the shadows of this exclusion, they pushed to create the nation’s first federal health care programs. On today’s episode: Jeneen Interlandi, a member of The New York Times’s editorial board and a writer for The Times Magazine, and Yaa Gyasi, the author of “Homegoing.”
Recent events involving the killing of unarmed Black people have brought discussions about racism to the forefront, including at scientific institutions. This season is centered on Black scientists, from graduate students to faculty to those who have left the ivory towers. They study bug microbiomes, autism, neural prosthetics and more. But they will also discuss how racism has impacted their scientific journey. To cap off the season, we will examine the root of inequity in STEM academia and what we can do moving forward to ensure a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem where science can serve everyone.
Hidden Brain: People Like Us, How Our Identities Shape Health And Educational Success
This week on Hidden Brain, we travel from medical clinics to school classrooms for a look at how shared identity creates understanding and trust.
Reading, listening, and supporting the health sciences-related organizations and initiatives included on this page are a great start.
Want to do more? Check out this page for other ways you can fight racism, including voting, volunteering, keeping up with the conversation, attending campus events, plus training and organizations beyond STEM that you can get involved with.
Below are a selection of books relevant to racism and anti-racism in the health sciences. This is not a comprehensive list. For more books, search Scholar OneSearch or visit our Anti-Racism Research Subject Guide.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family--past and present--is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family--especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance? Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
Publication Date: 2010
Just Medicine by Over 84,000 black and brown lives are needlessly lost each year due to health disparities, the unfair, unjust, and avoidable differences between the quality and quantity of health care provided to Americans who are members of racial and ethnic minorities and care provided to whites. Health disparities have remained stubbornly entrenched in the American health care system-and inJust Medicine, Dayna Bowen Matthew finds that they principally arise from unconscious racial and ethnic biases held by physicians, institutional providers, and their patients.
Publication Date: 2015
Medical Apartheid by From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black Americans shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge--a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government's notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions. The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers--and indeed the whole medical establishment--with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
Publication Date: 2007-01-09
Black and Blue by Black & Blue is the first systematic description of how American doctors think about racial differences and how this kind of thinking affects the treatment of their black patients. The standard studies of medical racism examine past medical abuses of black people and do not address the racially motivated thinking and behaviors of physicians practicing medicine today. Black & Blue penetrates the physician's private sphere where racial fantasies and misinformation distort diagnoses and treatments. Doctors have always absorbed the racial stereotypes and folkloric beliefs about racial differences that permeate the general population. Within the world of medicine this racial folklore has infiltrated all of the medical sub-disciplines, from cardiology to gynecology to psychiatry. Doctors have thus imposed white or black racial identities upon every organ system of the human body, along with racial interpretations of black children, the black elderly, the black athlete, black musicality, black pain thresholds, and other aspects of black minds and bodies. The American medical establishment does not readily absorb either historical or current information about medical racism. For this reason, racial enlightenment will not reach medical schools until the current race-aversive curricula include new historical and sociological perspectives.
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
Handbook of Asian American Health by Asian Americans encounter a range of health issues often unknown to the American public, policy makers, researchers and even clinicians. National research often combines Asian Americans into a single category, not taking into account the differences and complexity among Asian ethnic subgroups. The definition of Asian American derives from the U.S. Census Bureau's definition of Asian, which includes peoples from all the vast territories of the Far East, Southeast Asia and the South Asian Subcontinent. While Census classifications determine demographic measurements that affect equal opportunity programs, the broad rubric "Asian-American" can never describe accurately the more than 50 distinct Asian American subgroups, who together comprise multifaceted diversity across cultural ethnicities, socio-economic status, languages, religions and generations. This volume rectifies that situation by exploring the unique needs and health concerns of particular subgroups within the Asian American community. It consolidates a wide range of knowledge on various health issues impacting Asian Americans while also providing a discussion into the cultural, social, and structural forces impacting morbidity, mortality and quality of life. The volume is designed to advance the understanding of Asian American health by explaining key challenges and identifying emerging trends faced in specific ethnic groups and diseases/illnesses, innovative community-based interventions and the future needed areas of research.
Publication Date: 2012-10-11
Reproductive Justice: the politics of health care for Native American women by In Reproductive Justice, sociologist Barbara Gurr provides the first analysis of Native American women's reproductive healthcare and offers a sustained consideration of the movement for reproductive justice in the United States. The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota--where Gurr herself lived for more than a year. Gurr paints an insightful portrait of the Indian Health Service (IHS)--the federal agency tasked with providing culturally appropriate, adequate healthcare to Native Americans--shedding much-needed light on Native American women's efforts to obtain prenatal care, access to contraception, abortion services, and access to care after sexual assault. Reproductive Justice goes beyond this local story to look more broadly at how race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, and nation inform the ways in which the government understands reproductive healthcare and organizes the delivery of this care. It reveals why the basic experience of reproductive healthcare for most Americans is so different--and better--than for Native American women in general, and women in reservation communities particularly. Finally, Gurr outlines the strengths that these communities can bring to the creation of their own reproductive justice, and considers the role of IHS in fostering these strengths as it moves forward in partnership with Native nations.nbsp; Reproductive Justice offers a respectful and informed analysis of the stories Native American women have to tell about their bodies, their lives, and their communities.nbsp;
Publication Date: 2014-12-09
Below are a selection of organizations to support BIPOC students, researchers, and faculty in the health sciences, as well as groups dedicated to social justice and anti-racist efforts. This is not a comprehensive list.
Institutes and Organizations at Northeastern
For other groups and support at Northeastern, please click here to view the Support page on our Anti-Racism Guide.
Institute of Health, Equity, and Social Justice (IHESJR)
Disparities in health and mental health arise and persist as the result of complex individual, societal, and global factors. IHESJR bring together faculty and students from across Northeastern University, along with external research partners, to tackle these complex challenges. IHESJR's teams draw upon a wide range of research methods and interventions, but share a common commitment to promoting health equity and social justice through high-impact, community engaged research.
Northeastern Resource and Cultural Centers:
Student Groups and Organizations: