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When Damon Tweedy first enters the halls of Duke University Medical School on a full scholarship, he envisions a bright future where his segregated, working-class background will become largely irrelevant. Instead he finds that he has joined a new world where race is front and center. When one of his first professors mistakes him for a maintenance worker, it is a moment that crystallizes the challenges he will face throughout his early career. Making matters worse, in lecture after lecture the common refrain for numerous diseases resounds: "more common in blacks than whites."
In riveting, honest prose, Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of most health problems in the black community. These elements take on greater meaning when Tweedy finds himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. In this powerful, moving, and compassionate book, Tweedy deftly explores the challenges confronting black doctors and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care.
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By Jean on 06-05-16
Tweedy tells the story of his life in medical school, residency and in medical practice as a black man. He attended Duke University Medical School in 1996. He tells the story of his humiliation of being mistaken for a maintenance worker by his professor. He says he felt uncomfortable and like an outsider all during his schooling at Duke. He also discusses the affirmative action and how helpful it has been to the minority.
The author also delves into his health problems. He goes into depth about his diagnosis of hypertensive kidney disease which is very common among the blacks. He moves back and forth between anecdote and analysis. He reviews the health problems of blacks and how this relates to poverty and ignorance. He discusses the past history of medical experimentation on blacks without their knowledge or consent. He also delves into the “two-tiered system” where blacks are less likely than whites to have access to quality health care. Unfortunately, Tweedy offers few opinions or ideas on how to eliminate racial disparities in health care. He does advocate for more black physicians and nurses. The memoir is well written and quite interesting. Corey Allen did a good job narrating the book.
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