The patient called me “colored girl.” The senior doctor training me said nothing.

Okwerekwu, J.A.
Submitted: April, 2016

Medicine struggles with a chronic disease: racism. Medical schools try to combat this disease with diversity initiatives and training in unconscious bias and cultural sensitivity. I’m about to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, so I’ve been through such programs. They’re not enough. Every one of us needs to own the principles that protect us and our patients from racism and bias. That means learning to see prejudice and speaking up against it. But that is far, far easier said than done.