Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care

Front Cover

If you’re going to have a heart attack, an organ transplant, or a joint replacement, here’s the key to getting the very best medical care: be a white, straight, middle-class male. This book by a pioneering black surgeon takes on one of the few critically important topics that haven’t figured in the heated debate over health care reform—the largely hidden yet massive injustice of bias in medical treatment.

Growing up in Jim Crow–era Tennessee and training and teaching in overwhelmingly white medical institutions, Gus White witnessed firsthand how prejudice works in the world of medicine. And while race relations have changed dramatically, old ways of thinking die hard. In Seeing Patients White draws upon his experience in startlingly different worlds to make sense of the unconscious bias that riddles medical treatment, and to explore what it means for health care in a diverse twenty-first-century America.

White and co-author David Chanoff use extensive research and interviews with leading physicians to show how subconscious stereotyping influences doctor-patient interactions, diagnosis, and treatment. Their book brings together insights from the worlds of social psychology, neuroscience, and clinical practice to define the issues clearly and, most importantly, to outline a concrete approach to fixing this fundamental inequity in the delivery of health care.

 

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Dr. Augustus A. White III, the son of a physician in segregated Memphis, graduate of Brown (undergraduate degree in psychology), Stanford (medical school) and Yale (residency), Vietnam War combat ... Read full review

Contents

My Fellow Humans
1
Memphis
15
2 Scrub Nurse
35
Stanford
63
Yale
85
Death and Our Common Humanity
109
Sweden
133
7 A Man Aint Nothin but a Man
153
Race
211
Women Hispanics Elderly Gay
233
12 Culturally Competent Care
257
Epilogue
281
Some Practical Suggestions for Patients and Physicians
297
National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
305
Notes
309
Acknowledgments
321

Harvard
177
The Subconscious at Work
199

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About the author (2011)

Augustus A. White III, MD, is Professor of Medical Education and Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the first African American department chief at Harvard's teaching hospitals.

David Chanoff is a writer living in Marlborough, MA.

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