Central PA Medicine Summer2020 - 13

daup h i n c m s .o rg

The thin white line of medicine must face its history and demons
as well. The COVID-19 pandemic was the 2020 announcement of
unequal treatment in the medical community on the world stage. It
should not be surprising news that health disparities resulting in an
average life expectancy of 81.2 years for white females and only 71.9
years for black males would result in disproportionate black deaths.
In Pennsylvania blacks represent 13% of cases, but 20% of deaths as
of June 12, 2020. Yes, here too.

The underlying causes for these disparities are well studied and deeply
rooted. I am certain others will write about the social determinants of
health in this issue. The AAMC and ACGME have been highlighting
these issues for several years and require research to address health
disparities as part of the ACGME clinical learning environment review
(CLER). CLER reviewers seek specific information from sponsoring
institutions about how they address this aspect of quality or inequality
of care. Breathe easy if you aren't doing much, most of the nation isn't
either even after several rounds of CLER review. Meanwhile the black
community says, "I can't breathe! COVID-19 is filling my lungs!" Or
perhaps, "There is a knee on my neck!"

always existed and will continue
Let's get to
the good fight. If you can't find
one come join us. We are part of work.Who
the Healthy Harrisburg project
is carrying
kicking off in July 2020, a multiyear project connecting with the the guns at
city of Harrisburg to combat health the protests
disparities. UPMC Pinnacle is part- then and
nering with Harrisburg residents, the
now?
faith network, city leadership, local
business and local law enforcement
to make change. (https://www.pinnaclehealth.org/classes-and-events/
join-the-healthy-harrisburg-initiative-2020/)

So how can things change? First everyone has to take individual
Oh, who am I? I'm a black physician who trained at Hershey Medical
responsibility for their actions and beliefs. I know, I hear you. You Center and has practiced throughout Pennsylvania as an internist, faculty
aren't racist. You treat everyone the same. You don't see color. Ok, fine. member and administrator. I am an avid runner who, in 2017, had
Do you want to test yourself? I challenge you to go to https://implicit. a car of young white males swearing at him and flashing the middle
harvard.edu/implicit; follow the directions and learn about implicit finger because I was a black man running in Hummelstown. Google
association testing. Take a few tests. The disclaimer will advise you not Ahmaud Arbery if you don't get the inference. I am the faculty member
to take the test if you are not prepared to wrestle with the results. It whose resident was running along the river in Harrisburg last week
is sage advice; the degree of cognitive dissonance can be threatening when a white family yelled from their passing car "Hey Osama bin
to your sense of self. We all have biases; it is part of being human. Laden go home we don't want you here!" The resident is from India. I'm
Recognizing them and not allowing them to unconsciously control the person whose black female colleague was rattled by the Re-Open
our actions is, in my opinion, a higher form of being. If you disagree, Pennsylvania protesters in Harrisburg. Why was she rattled? Perhaps
relax, I'm not talking to you. If you can successfully navigate this stage, the picture will help explain.
coming to the table to discuss race and dismantling systems with other
individuals who want a better society gets a little easier.
If you have read this much, I was talking to you. Nice to meet you.
Next order of business, who can explain the difference between
equity and equality? The answers aren't simple and will come through
experience and rigor. Teams of people seeking a better society have
Central PA Medicine Summer 2020 13


http://www.dauphincms.org https://www.pinnaclehealth.org/classes-and-events/ https://implicit http://www.harvard.edu/implicit

Central PA Medicine Summer2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSpring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMFall19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSummer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSpring19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMFall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Summer17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Spring17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Feb2017
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com