Pritzker Hosts 4th Annual Anti-Racism Reading Program

By Alia Richardson, Jasmine Rios, Luis Rosario, and Hecong Qin

On May 9th, 2024, the Identity and Inclusion (i2i) Steering Committee and Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HEDI) hosted the 4th Annual Anti-Racism Reading Program for the first-year medical school class. This year, students were assigned to read Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine by Uché Blackstock, MD.

Organized by second-year i2i class representatives Alia Richardson, Jasmine Rios, Luis Rosario, and Hecong Qin, the event began with a question and answer session with Dr. Blackstock, followed by small group discussions guided by upperclassmen student facilitators and faculty.

Dr. Blackstock shared reflections with the first-year class on practicing self-care while advocating for others, her experience working with various institutions on anti-racism training, and advice she would give her younger self. The Q&A session concluded with a call to action for students as future leaders to continue to engage in conversations about improving medicine and striving toward equity.

One first-year student shared, “I really appreciated Dr. Blackstone taking the time to talk with us! Her book was really impactful on me and has prompted me to think more seriously and concretely about how I will advocate for my Black patients and peers in medicine.”

Small group discussions enabled dialogue about personal experiences with racism in medicine and robust discussion of their key takeaways from the book. Students engaged with questions such as “How has medicine historically perpetuated racism and inequity?” and “Which action items to dismantle racism in medicine outlined in Dr. Blackstock’s book most resonated with you?”

The Anti-Racism Reading Program has become a yearly tradition at the Pritzker School of Medicine providing first-year medical students the opportunity to further their understanding of lessons learned from their Health Equity Advocacy and Anti-Racism course. The program was started by Pritzker students María Ruiz and Tom Fouché in 2020 with the support of the i2i committee and Dr. Monica Vela in response to the social and health inequities amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and inspired by the activist work that millions of Americans engaged in following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

The goal of this tradition is to allow first-year Pritzker students to deepen their understanding and commitment to practicing anti-racism. The annual discussion provides a unique perspective on medicine as students rise to the challenges of their early medical training.


Anti-Racism Reading Program Books

2023-2024 - Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine by Uché Blackstock

2022-2023 - Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel

2021-2022 - Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

2020-2021 - Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century by Dorothy Roberts