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Caste at the intersection of Health/Medicine: Course Overview



From Austin Frakt  "Bad Medicine: The Harm That Comes From Racism" in The New York Times Published online Jan. 13, 2020

Racial discrimination has shaped so many American institutions that perhaps it should be no surprise that health care is among them. Put simply, people of color receive less care — and often worse care — than white Americans.

Reasons includes lower rates of health coverage; communication barriers; and racial stereotyping based on false beliefs.

Predictably, their health outcomes are worse than those of whites.

African-American patients tend to receive lower-quality health services, including for cancer, H.I.V., prenatal care and preventive care, vast research shows. They are also less likely to receive treatment for cardiovascular disease, and they are more likely to have unnecessary limb amputations.


This semester we will focus on Wilkerson's discussion of racially-based medical and health inequities. The major assignment for this semester will ask you to explore the impact of racism in specific aspect of healthcare. You will present your research and reflections to your classmates in a brief 5 slide/5-minute presentation.

You will use the following format:

Slide 1: Introduce your topic

Slide 2: Background and historical information (may be drawn or inspired by something in Wilkerson's text)

Slide 3: Where are we now? Are there steps being taken to address? Is the issue being discussed openly in newspapers, magazines, podcasts, etc?

Slide 4: Proposed solutions for addressing issue

Slide 5: References from your research (minimum of 5 sources including one data rich source)