Blackface in White Space: Using Admissions to Address Racism in Medical Education

J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Jul 29. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06079-4. Online ahead of print.


Given the long history and pervasive nature of racism in medical culture, this essay argues that diversifying efforts alone cannot address systemic racism in medical education. Positive affirmation of anti-racist values and racial consciousness in the admissions process is necessary to create a truly inclusive culture in medical education and begin to undo centuries of racial prejudice in medicine. Drawing from historic examples, scholarship on the sociology of racialized space, recent research on race and medical education, and personal experience, we propose that medical educational institutions make a more concerted effort to consider racial attitudes and awareness as part of the admissions process as well as curricular reform efforts. We also provide examples of potential ways to practically implement this proposal in the admissions process.