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Howard Ph.D. Student Publishes Article in Top Medical Journal “The Lancet” on Racial Inequities and Solutions in Medicine

Marie Plasime

WASHINGTON – Howard University Ph.D. student, Marie Plaisime, has published a research article in the top medical journal, The Lancet. The article, also known as a “viewpoint,” titled “From race-based to race-conscious medicine: how anti-racist uprisings call us to act,” advances the discussions on reducing race-based medicine.

“It is an honor to have our work be recognized and published by the Lancet,” said Plaisime. “We wanted to create an interdisciplinary team to investigate the harsh consequences of race-based medicine. It’s critical to remove academic silos to dismantle race-based practices, and we were each able to bring unique insights from our respective fields.”

Plaisime, a fifth-year, medical sociology Ph.D. student, was a 2017-2018 Just Julian Scholar and was also the first Howard student to join the Health Policy Research Scholar Program with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2017. Over the years, she has focused her work on exploring the linkages between unconscious bias and health care processes and outcomes. Plaisime has been committed to investigating the complex interactions between race and health and engaging in collaborative translational research and innovative policy formation, while examining the roles that physicians, nurses, patients, and health advocates have in shaping health inequity.

“It is great to see scholars, like Marie Plaisime, spark conversation and use interdisciplinary methods to explore the inequities of the health care system and medical field,” says President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Her success is a testament to the excellent academic standards achieved by Howard students and their dedication to using their studies to put forward solutions that enhance society.”

Plaisime and her research colleagues, Jessica Cerdeña, an M.D.-Ph.D. anthropology student, and Jennifer Tsai, an emergency medicine resident physician, both at Yale, created a video animation that captured and explained the key points of the article. The full piece and animation will be made available on The Lancet’s website for unrestricted viewing. The aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter rallies inspired The Lancet to open their editorial calendar for new viewpoints, which was a window of opportunity for Plaisime and her colleagues.

“The viewpoint was highlighted as part of the journal’s wider commitments to racial equality,” said a spokesperson for The Lancet.

Plaisime shared her hopes for what her article will achieve and her goals for advocating for others in the community.

“By providing examples of race-conscious medicine, I hope that this publication can raise awareness about race-based medicine, generate creative discussions about structural inequality, prioritize interdisciplinary collaborations, and promote changes in medical education policies and practices. By analyzing the history, culture, and institutions that maintain racial health inequities, we challenge the assumption that race is an essential, biological variable when it is a social and power construct, with real differential consequences.”

Their video animation will offer a way to make the content of their work more shareable to a broader audience.

“As we highlight in the video that corresponds with our paper, anti-racist uprisings and disproportionate rates of COVID-19 in communities of color have spotlighted how structural racism determines who lives and who dies. The medical field must dismantle its racist practices. My sincere hope is that providers in all health care settings can be more self-reflective, challenge their own biases, and critically analyze decision-making tools,” said Plaisime.

Plaisime said her goal is to produce actionable knowledge that will be used to influence policy. Her research investigates how racism, provider bias, and discrimination influence differential treatment and examines the roles that medical students, residents, and patients play in shaping health inequity, especially for Black and Brown patients.

“Innovative research requires activism, and, as women of color, we feel that that this piece is extremely timely. We each have personally experienced substandard care in clinical settings, and my goal is to eliminate racial injustice in health care and advance discussions on reducing race-based medicine,” said Plaisime.

To read their article, visit www.thelancet.com/racial-equality.

Watch the animaton here or below:

 

 

 

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About Howard University 

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright Scholars. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu 

Media Contact: Imani Pope-Johns, Imani.popejohns@howard.edu