Medical-school students across the nation put on their white coats Wednesday and staged die-ins as a way to protest the recent killings of unarmed black men by law enforcement and the racial biases that also exist in health care, Al-Jazeera reports.
“Participants say the same structural racism that results in police brutality against blacks manifests itself in the health care system, leading to poorer health, shorter life expectancies and inferior medical care for black Americans,” the news site explained.
Jamie Lim, a first-year student at Boston University’s School of Medicine, explained to Al-Jazeera that the U.S. health care system is just as guilty as the criminal-justice system of harboring racial biases toward its patrons.
“The main purpose of the demonstration for us as medical students is to demonstrate our commitment to acknowledging and addressing systematic racism, not only in the context of the criminal-justice system, but particularly in the context of health care,” Lim said.
Other participating medical schools included Howard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, Harvard, Yale, Duke and Emory. The die-in occurred at 3 p.m. EST Wednesday.
Dorothy Charles, a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, described how she hopes the event will get medical-school students and health care practitioners to think about the ways in which the medical community “may be unconsciously perpetuating racial injustice,” Al-Jazeera reports.
“These incidents are fueled by something more than police aggression—systematic racism permeates all of society, and you can definitely find it in medicine,” Charles said.
Read more at Al-Jazeera.