University of Nebraska Medical Center

Combating Racism in Medicine

UNMC employees kneel outside the Buffett Cancer Center for White Coats for Black Lives.

Welcome to a walking tour of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine. This special tour, called “Combating Racism in Medicine,” focuses on racial injustices in the health care system. It maps out what has occurred across medical specialties and how they might be overcome.  

From the higher maternal mortality in Black women to the flaws in the slavery hypertension hypothesis or the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine, this tour hopes to shed light on these important matters. 

In 2003, the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. The report is about the bias, prejudice and stereotyping that contribute to differences in care. African Americans and other minorities continue to suffer disproportionately from chronic, treatable conditions. 

Our goal is to bring awareness to racism as a structural determinant of health. We strive to increase the capacity to recognize and respond to the ways in which racism contributes to the vulnerability and ill health of the patients and communities we serve.  

We hope to answer questions such as: What is the history of race in medical and scientific theories and how does it shape clinical practice, health research, and medical education today? How does inclusion of race in diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms reconcile with thinking about social determinants of health and how they produce and perpetuate health inequities? What are some strategies or methods that will promote anti-racism and help reduce racial disparities in medicine? 

As medical educators, we must acknowledge racism and its harms and commit to dismantling the structural racism and inequity that still exists in our institution in order to create a medical system that heals. Although not exhaustive, we have curated a collection of resources – some already existing and some we created ourselves. 

Before you begin the tour, please take a moment to reflect on how your own identity, privilege, and biases can affect how you interact with others (pdf link). You can also check out Project Implicit (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html) which may help you uncover any hidden biases you may hold. 

And finally, thank you for spending time learning about this important issue. We hope the tour is educational, provides reflection, and moves you to action. If you have a topic that you would like to include as a stop, please feel free to submit a proposal for consideration. 

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UNMC employees kneel outside the Buffett Cancer Center for White Coats for Black Lives.

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Project Contributors

Donovan Allen, MD

College of Medicine
Class of 2022

Donovan Allen
Mark Carter, MD

College of Medicine
Class of 2023

Mark Carter

Assistant Professor, UNMC Department of Family Medicine

Jennifer Liu, MD, MPH

References and Special Thanks

Special Thanks
Special thanks to our allies: Office of Medical Education and supporting grant, Department Chairs, Departmental DEI teams (Dr. Quan Ly, Dr. Jean Amoura, Dr. Jasmine Marcelin), Dr. Sheritta Strong, Dr. Shirley Delair, Dr. Kristie Hayes, Dr. Nada Fadul, E-learning lab, Facilities Mandy Ottenberg, Graphic Design Tom Waples, Ellen Jeffries (web design), Chris Christen, Dr. Gordon, Dr. Neil Kalsi, Jenenne Geske, Tuggen Even, Peggy Moore, Jess King, Emily Glenn, Emily Brush, Karle Olnes, and Travis Ingram (information security).