In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight some Black authors, leaders, and creators who have greatly contributed to nursing, health policy, and the healthcare field.
Malone Mukwende is a medical student who, along with two professors, developed the book Mind the Gap. Unlike previously written works, this book does not focus on symptoms and condition presentations on white skin, but features symptoms and descriptions of conditions as they would appear on black and brown skin (Cassata, 2020). Increased representation like this is crucial in order for healthcare providers to deliver the best care that is truly patient-centered and tailored to each individual. Next time you are reviewing disease presentation, consider how symptoms could present on all types of skin.
Dr. Harriet Washington is the author of numerous books, one of which is titled Medical Apartheid (University of Washington Medicine, n.d.). Through this work, Dr. Washington provides a historical account of the medical mistreatment of Black Americans, such as those who were mistreated in the unethical Tuskegee Syphilis Study (Penguin Random House Network, n.d.). In your future practice, consider how this history has impacted individuals in the past and consider how it continues to impact individuals in the present. Many patients might be mistrustful of the healthcare system. Think about what we can do in order to provide spaces in healthcare where patients can feel comfortable and trusting of their providers.
Mabel Keaton Staupers
Mabel Keaton Staupers, a registered nurse from Barbados, has greatly contributed to healthcare policy and social justice in the United States. She was incredibly influential in the process of ending the policy of not allowing Black nurses to serve in the United States Army. Along with this, Mabel Keaton Staupers is the author of the work titled No Time for Prejudice. (Staten, 2011). Mabel Keaton Staupers is one of many examples of nurses working towards policy change. Consider the ways in which you might be able to influence policy to be move inclusive (both on the small and large scale) in the future.
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a lawyer and professor, has published many works related to topics such as intersectionality. An example of one of her publications is On Intersectionality: Essential Writings. She was the individual that coined the term “intersectionality,” which relates to how individuals’ various identities interact with one another, and that each person does not represent just one, single identity (Coaston, 2019). Think of how someone’s various identities might impact their lives, their healthcare access, and their degree of privilege.
Last year, the UHP also shared information about prominent Black nurses throughout the years. Be sure to take a look at last year’s February 3rd- February 28th blog posts to learn more!
Cassata, C. (2020, September 4). This med student wrote the book on diagnosing disease on darker skin. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/this-med-student-wrote-the-book-on-diagnosing-disease-on-darker-skin
Coaston, J. (2019, May 28). The intersectionality wars. Vox. https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/5/20/18542843/intersectionality-conservatism-law-race-gender-discrimination
Penguin Random House Network. (n.d.). About Medical Apartheid. Penguin Random House. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/185986/medical-apartheid-by-harriet-a-washington/
Staten, C. (2011, March 31). Mabel Keaton Staupers (1890-1989). BlackPast.org. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/staupers-mabel-keaton-1890-1989/
University of Washington Medicine. (n.d.). Black history month 2020: Contemporary African American authors contributing to Healthcare Equity Advancement. UW Medicine. https://depts.washington.edu/uwmedptn/strategies-programs/healthcare-equity/hcetoolkit/healthcare-equity-related-commemorations/contemporary-african-american-authors-contributing-to-healthcare-equity-advancement/