Med students: ‘racism’ is a ‘public health crisis’

Med students across the country are teaming up against what they purport to be widespread racism in their field, calling on their institutions to recognize the situation as a “public health crisis.”

The national movement, known as “White Coats for Black Lives,” was founded after some members apparently noticed that their “medical school campuses remained silent and detached” while the Black Lives Matter movement became a national phenomenon.

[RELATED: NYC health official: ‘We must name racism as a cause of poor health]

Accordingly, at least 43 chapters have formed since the project’s inception at elite med schools like Harvard and Yale, and places such as the Mayo Medical School in Minnesota, all with a shared mission of safeguarding “the lives and well-being of [their] patients through the elimination of racism.”

On numerous occasions, the White Coats for Black Lives website declares racism to be a “national health crisis” or “issue,” in one instance calling it “one of the major health problems in the United States” and declaring that it must be addressed by promoting med “students’ involvement in local and national movements to end racism and police brutality.”

Additionally, the protest group is lobbying for national curriculum reform within med schools, arguing that schools need to “develop national medical school curricular standards that include information about the history of racism in medicine, unconscious racial bias in medical decision making, and strategies for dismantling structural racism.”

[RELATED: Nursing students required to take course on white privilege]

Along similar lines, White Coats for Black Lives is calling on the nation’s top medical schools to devote more funding to “research on the health effects of racism” as well as “funding for research on unconscious bias and racism in the delivery of medical care.”

While the group was founded in 2014, when “over 3000 students at more than 80 medical schools across the country participated” in a nationwide die-in, it has remained active ever since, organizing numerous protests and demonstrations, such as recently condemning the election of Donald Trump.

“The election this week has left us angry, upset, and afraid,” the group wrote in a statement shortly after Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton. “The racism, misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia, and homophobia that catapulted Donald Trump to the White House have pervaded our country and our health care system for hundreds of years.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski