Medical students from more than 70 U.S. schools organized a die-in Wednesday in support of the nationwide protests condemning a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri.
Participants say the same structural racial that is present in police brutality against blacks manifests itself in the health care system.
“The main purpose of the demonstration for us as medical students is to demonstrate our commitment to acknowledging and addressing systematic racism not only in the context of the criminal justice system but particularly in the context of health care,” said Jamie Lim, a first year medical student at Boston University’s School of Medicine (BUSM).
BUSM has a long history of working for equal opportunities in the medical field, Lim said, which is one reason so many B.U. students have taken structural racism to heart. The school graduated the first African-American female medical doctor, as well as the first Native American M.D. in the United States, he said.
BUSM students planned a short program Wednesday before the die-in — with protesters lying on the ground as if dead — with speakers from the Student National Medical Association lecturing on the needs of black medical students across the country. Afterward, participants will go to the main lobby of the medical school and lie down on the ground for four and a half minutes — symbolic of the four and a half hours Brown’s body was left on a Ferguson street after he was killed on Aug. 9.
A 2012 study found that two-thirds of primary care doctors were biased against black patients. According to the study, doctors spent less time with black patients than with white patients. They were also less likely to include black patients in medical decisions.
Kudos to these medical students for standing up for the rights of Blacks.
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