Reflecting on the Series
The extreme racial inequality highlighted by the atrocities committed during the coronavirus pandemic is what motivated me to explore a different path with this project. After the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others, I wanted KDSAP to take part in the crucial movement that was taking our nation by storm: BLM. I began educating myself on not just the social, but the medical and health disparities that exist between white, black and hispanic populations in this country. I realized that for so long, the medical system had been dominated by mostly white, cis-gendered men, and if treatment outcomes for black and brown populations was going to change, we needed representation.
That is the thought process that birthed our webinar series: Why Representation Matters in Healthcare. Due to the pandemic, James, Maria and I quickly realized that our in-person kidney education lessons were not going to work. We also realized that there were bigger issues at hand. Our goal became to develop a mentorship with high school students from underrepresented minorities, which are students from black or hispanic backgrounds who may not necessarily feel supported to pursue a career in healthcare. We quickly got to work, making episodes to address the problems of medical disparities between races, why we need more black and brown healthcare providers, and how to even get started on this path. We used our own experiences to make prospective college students feel supported and inspired to pursue their dreams.
Being a part of this project has been integral in my discovery of what it means to be anti-racist and an active contributor to social change. Before the pandemic, the screenings I participated in played a vital role in my understanding of socioeconomic factors and determinants of health. We interacted with diverse populations on a weekly basis and were able to learn about them and play a small role in their medical care. When the pandemic hit, we had no idea how we were going to continue the mission of a club that relies so heavily on human interaction and service. Yet I soon realized that educating myself was a powerful way to become a better healthcare worker and member of society. I was able to educate myself on the clinical disparities between racial groups and play a role in the dissemination of this important information. Instead of taking a reactionary role in the healthcare field, I was able to proactively understand an issue and make a meaningful contribution to change the cycle. As someone who aims to be a physician, I know that this newfound sense of agency on the welfare of others will take me far in my goals to understand and educate the many variables of health in our society.