Battling organized racism has never been about a single person or one moment in time—it is about exploring deeply ingrained beliefs each of us hold about those individuals who we see as different from ourselves. Outcome disparities due to race are not limited to the healthcare arena; they affect our education system, justice system, law enforcement, social media and everyday life.
Society must endorse the idea that a woman must consent prior to being touched. And when there is a power differential, consent may not meet the necessary criteria to avoid allegations of sexual assault. In fact, it might be equally plausible that Mr. Lauer “lured” Nevils to his hotel room as it is that she showed up of her own volition. I ask this question because of my own experience of having been lured by a physician colleague to his home in the evening under false pretenses. It is a mistake I have never made again.
This past summer, I volunteered in Tijuana, Mexico at a clinic serving patients in the Migrant Protection Protocol program, or MPP. Also known as “Remain in Mexico,” MPP sends migrants who appear at official places of entry along the U.S. border seeking asylum, back to Mexico to await future immigration hearing dates.
Why did this picture seize our attention? Is it because Valeria’s’ tiny body is tucked inside her father’s shirt and we can vividly see her clinging to him as they drowned? Or is it because we know if they had made it across safely, the two would have been separated anyway? Or is it because every parent understands the desperation it took for a father to swim across a swirling river while carrying his 2-year-old daughter on his back?
Structural racism is the biased societal approach to housing, education, employment, healthcare, and criminal justice. As scientists study racial health disparities in depth, a picture begins to emerge that there are bigger, stronger, and more insidious forces at play than economics alone. The psychological stress generated by unfair treatment may trigger a biological series of events that lead to worsened health outcomes in the long term.
A physician should be called a “physician.” A nurse practitioner should be identified as “nurse practitioner.” Please call a physician assistant, “physician assistant.” These are accurate titles, reflective of their specialized education, training, and expertise. They are all venerated professions which share a mutual goal of improving patient’s lives, yet the vocations are fundamentally different.
“Provider” was first utilized by The Third Reich, who embraced this moniker to degrade Jewish physicians as medical professionals. The historic root and use of the word “provider” deserves our attention and reflection because if we forget the tragic mistakes of history, we may be doomed to repeat them. While the more recent movement to disrespect the education and training of physicians was the brainchild of the federal government and corporatized medicine, this disdain for medical expertise has occurred before–to Jewish physicians living in Germany in 1937, before World War II.
The Regence auditor in charge of my case, Anke Menzer-Wallace, failed to turn up any irregularities in our documentation. But, still, Ms. Menzer-Wallace issued a stern admonition to my father and me, ordering us not to open our clinic on Saturdays to administer flu shots.
Dr. Mary Edward Walker was a female physician who embodied “antagonism.” She is the only female recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in U.S. history, cited for valor as a surgeon on the Civil War battlefield. She was also an abolitionist, prisoner of war, suffragist, writer and speaker. Two years before her death, the Army revoked her award yet she refused to comply. Her life story is inspiring.
Whether we recognize it or not, we’re in a housing affordability crisis. Over a third of households in the U.S., carry a shelter burden that is beyond the standard of affordability – that is, costs usurp more than 30% of monthly income. Locally, rents have increased by 50% over the last 5 years and more startling, the number of evictions has grown by 90% in the last 3 years.