The events of late have left many in the medical community considering their personal roles in addressing racial injustice. Internal medicine resident Rachel Cohen, MD, while reflecting on how she could make her own individual contribution to the cause, shared her thoughts and feelings with a friend. Knowing her busy schedule as a resident, Cohen’s friend suggested she start a racial justice book club for residents.
From that seed of an idea, the MDs for Racial Justice Book Club was born with the goal of starting and continuing conversations about the role of physicians in the fight towards racial equality. Inspired by a reading list posted on social media by the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Cohen felt that the SNMA book list would provide an ideal curriculum to have conversations and to collectively look at biases through different books.
The book club is open to all Department of Medicine faculty, staff and trainees. According to Cohen, “The goals of the overall group will be to read a text suggested by the SNMA and reflect on this text and how it relates to the experience of the patients we serve and our experiences as care providers.”
Response has been overwhelming. Several Department of Medicine faculty and trainees have offered to contribute their time as small group facilitators including Andrea Soares, MD, Natalie Baumann, MD, Nathanial Nolan, MD, and Maureen Lyons, MD. Each facilitator, including Cohen, will lead a small group and will set their own meeting schedules utilizing Zoom. “Technology allows us to start this book club under the current pandemic circumstances,” commented Cohen. “We hope to hold meetings in person someday.”
Cohen feels that this club brings her back to her social justice training that she started during a year long stint with Avodah, the Jewish service corps, between graduate school and medical school. “My experience with Avodah really sparked my interest in social justice,” shared Cohen. “I’m so pleased that I can continue that work with this book club. And, after residency, I know my background will help me with my goal to be a primary care doctor for underserved and marginalized communities.”
Interested in joining the MDs for Racial Justice Book Club? Email Rachel Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org