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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in Medicine

Race & Anti-Racism Topics in Medicine

Welcome to the Race & Medicine portion of the DEIA guide. From here, users can explore what resources the library has available to support research on race and anti-racism in medicine and beyond, review literature on specific health concerns and implications for patient care, and discover books from our DEI collection that speak to the important experiences of marginalized voices and communities.

Recommended Resources & Learning Materials

What is systemic racism?
Systemic racism is the imposition of racial oppression by dominant racial groups through established societal institutions. While an individual can carry out singular acts of bigotry, systemic racism is defined by repeated patterns of racial discrimination perpetuated by social institutions toward people deemed subordinate. A racial hierarchy of power is key to the existence of systemic racism.

In medicine, systemic racism can manifest as disparities in healthcare treatment and access, under-representing communities of color in clinical trials, cultural competence gaps in healthcare providers and medical education curriculum, and structural barriers in professional advancement.
What is implicit bias?
Implicit bias refers to the unconscious collection of stereotypes and attitudes that we develop toward certain groups of people. These biases can impact both patients and providers alike. Providers may unknowingly exhibit biases in communication, diagnosis, and treatment decisions. These biases contribute to health disparities. Additionally, providers themselves can experience bias based on factors like gender, race, or age. Addressing implicit bias through awareness, education, and systemic change is crucial for equitable patient care and a supportive work environment. 


What are microaggressions? 
Microaggressions are brief, everyday interactions or behaviors that demean or marginalize individuals based on their perceived or actual membership in a particular group. Microaggressions can be verbal, physical, or environmental. In health care settings, they can take various forms related to implicit bias. There are 3 types of microaggressions: 
  • Microinsults -  rude and insensitive comments, made either unconsciously or consciously, that disrespect a person's identity
  • Microassaults - more deliberate and intentionally harmful microaggressions. This might be what is traditionally considered "overt discrimination."
  • Microinvalidations - the act of ignoring or invalidating someone's experiences or identities. Microinvalidations dismiss lived realities and reinforce harmful norms.
Racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care persist as a significant challenge in the United States. These disparities are rooted in longstanding structural and systemic inequities driven by racism and discrimination. Key drivers of racial and ethnic health disparities include unequal access to health care leading to worsened health outcomes, social determinants of health, provider bias and discrimination, and bias within health algorithms or technologies.

Anti Racism Resources for all Ages

Below is a collection of resources curated by Dr. Nicole A. Cooke at the University of South Carolina. Described as "just a starting point", this collection contains over 200 anti-racism resources in multiple formats: videos, books, infographics, podcasts, and more. Not specific to medicine.

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