An e-mail conversation between a medical student and an ethics lawyer

By: Taiwo T. Ajumobi

OMS III student at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

December 8th 2016, 11:24am
Good morning Dr. Rosen,
I hope all is well. So this question has been on my mind for a while and it has to do with race and medicine. During one of my preceptorships, the medical resident was working with a patient who was an African American male with a very high (dangerously high) blood pressure. He was debating between whether to use a calcium-channel blocker or thiazide diuretic. He went to his attending and she basically said “because he is Black he should get the calcium-channel blocker”.
I know she is not racist nor am I suggesting that, but I guess what has been concerning me a bit is that it seems like race tends to be a significant factor in medical decision-making. Literally, the only commonality in all of my clinical medicine courses from August up to now has been numerous physicians saying, “African Americans/Caucasians/Asian Americans tend to be at higher risk for a, b, c, etc.”. On one hand, I do believe it is a good thing that as physicians, we are taught to take into consideration race and ethnicity when providing treatment plans for our patients. However, I have three concerns with our current “race-dependent medical consideration model”….

 

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JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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About the Author: JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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