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Sunday, August 14, 2022

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UH healthcare organizations discuss racial disparities in medicine


Honors in Community Health and the American Women’s Medical Association have held virtual events focused on mitigating racial disparity in healthcare. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

As conversations about racial disparities in healthcare continue nationwide, the UH chapters of the American Medical Women’s Association and Honors in Community Health organizations hosted virtual events focused on discussions of racism in the healthcare system.

HICH held an event Sept. 2 focused on the social determinants of health and the speakers’ own involvement in relevant research.

Aiming to build healthy communities through a multi-pronged approach to overcome obstacles for underserved populations, HICH intended to educate attendees about injustices faced by Black people in healthcare.

“The goal of the webinar was to educate students on the historical and recent injustices faced by Black people in public healthcare,” said HICH co-director Roba Abousaway.

“We wanted to provide a platform for the speakers to share their personal experiences, and provide insight and advice for students seeking to better understand and tackle the issue,” Abousaway added.

The speaker line-up included Christine Leveaux-Haley, a UH political science professor, Sean Haley, an executive consultant at the Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement, Travis Canes, George Floyd’s older brother and Veronica Deboest, the former president of Third Ward public housing complex Cuney Homes.

Some of the issues that were discussed during HICH’s panel were Blacks and the healthcare system. Specifically, the use of Black people as lab rats, Blacks’ distrust of the medical industry, actions that must be taken to dismantle racism in healthcare and what it’s like growing up in public housing as a Black person. 

AMWA’s webinar featured speaker Dr. Ayesha Khan, an infectious disease scientist and grassroots activist. The discussion of Khan’s advocacy and how others can work to get rid of racism in the healthcare system took place on Sept. 11.

“The reason for  holding this webinar was to inform others about the injustices the Black community faces and to educate  them on ways they can help stop racism in the healthcare system,” said AMWA co-president Christina Dias.

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