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The COVID-19 pandemic has helped highlight numerous healthcare inequities that exist. Data from early in the pandemic showed that African Americans were dying from COVID-19 at higher rates, highlighting health inequities that have existed for years. And unfortunately, statistics like this about health disparities are numerous.
Black mothers are consistently more likely to die from complications surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. “Racial-corrections” in spirometry algorithms assume that Black, Asian, and Latinx patients have lower lung capacities. And medical schools don’t frequently teach how dermatology conditions look on darker skin. With these varying health outcomes being more heavily critiqued, a new wave of advocacy is emerging, led by young people, to combat systemic disparities in medicine.
This talk will dive into the history of various health disparities that exist in medicine, discuss how they manifest in practice, and examine the new ways in which students, organizations, and hospitals are tackling racial bias in medicine.
Joel Bervell is a third year Ghanaian-American medical student at Washington State University, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.
In 2017, Joel graduated from Yale University, where he earned a BA in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology. There, Joel served as an elected member of Yale student government, and director of a longitudinal mentorship program.
At Washington State University, Joel served as Medical Student Council President and the co-founder and president of a chapter of the Student National Medical Association. He is committed to fighting health disparities in medicine through education and regularly shares topics about racial disparities in healthcare and other industries on his TikTok and Instagram (@joelbervell) where his platforms have over 300,000+ combined followers and 17,000,000+ impressions. He has been invited to speak on panels at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Clinton Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and more. He has also spoken on national media outlets including NPR and WebMd and regularly produces digital media content for Aljazeera and Brut Media. He currently is working with the World Health Organization’s Digital Communications, a collection of health professionals combatting the spread of misinformation on social media about COVID-19, and on a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion project with the VA Hospital systems.
Joel is the recipient of the National Medical Association Emerging Scholar Award, the highest academic honor presented to a student by the National Medical Association. He was selected as one of 100 inaugural TikTok for Black Creatives, and is the recipient of the TikTok AdColor Awards.
Participants will be able to:
1) Examine how medicine has been both complicit and a reflection of inequities in our society.
2) Understand the history and use of "race-based medicine" and how in present-day it continues to impact the care that patients receive.
3) Analyze and brainstorm solutions to maintaining health equity from a public health/ medical standpoint.