Appalling racial inequities in health exist in nearly every realm that researchers have examined. These inequities are a dramatic manifestation of the structural violence that plagues our society. Deborah Cohan, an obstetrician, gives her perspective on this in her article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"How am I confronting the underlying forces that facilitate increased suffering and death among certain groups because of their skin color? Although it’s necessary, it is not enough for me to provide respectful health care to pregnant women of color. If I truly want to be part of the solution, I need to explore those parts of me that are most unwholesome, embarrassing, unflattering, and generally not discussed in the context of one’s career."
Her goal is to dismantle the insidious thoughts that reinforce a hierarchy based on race, education, and other markers of privilege that separate her from others.
"These thoughts, fed by implicit bias, are more common than I find easy to admit. Although I know not to believe everything I think, I also know that thoughts guide attention, and attention guides actions. Until I bring to light and hold myself accountable for my own racist tendencies, I am contributing to racism in health care."