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Black Man in A White Coat

Black Man in A White Coat

A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine

Book - 2016
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When Damon Tweedy begins medical school, 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. The recipient of a scholarship designed to increase black student enrollment, Tweedy soon meets a professor who bluntly questions whether he belongs in medical school, a moment that crystallizes the challenges he will face throughout his career. Making matters worse, in lecture after lecture the common refrain for numerous diseases resounds, "More common in blacks than whites." 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 issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. Tweedy 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.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Picador, 2016
Edition: First Picador paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781250105042
Branch Call Number: R154.T84 A3 2016x
R154.T84 A3 2016x
Characteristics: 294 pages : portrait ; 21 cm


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Dec 11, 2016

This book begins with Tweedy's experiences as a med student at Duke. He discusses his career as he rotates through different rotations as a resident and then ultimately becomes a psychiatrist at Duke. The book begins focusing on the prejudice he faces, but the majority of the book looks at health disparities in our country. He examines a system in which African-American patients are more likely to have chronic illnesses, higher fatalities, and lower level of care. The book is both a memoir, and a look at how the healthcare system fails so many patients.

Oct 20, 2016

As a scholarship student, Tweedy starts out with an inferiority complex, afraid that people will think he does not deserve to be in medical school. He fears anything that will draw attention to his race, and cringes at every mention of racial medical statistics. This initial fear tempers somewhat, but it leads to his very cautious and measured approach in this book. Tweedy largely skirts around more controversial topics such as the war on drugs and discriminatory policing, both factors which contribute to the shortening of black lives. Full review:

Nov 11, 2015

Excellent book. Great book for medical student or professional. Very eye opening details from his perspective as black medical student and doctor. Very well written and engaging. I'm not in the medical field, but this book definitely has me thinking differently about the healthcare in this country as it relates to African Americans. I enjoyed the personal stories along with the statics.

Nov 05, 2015

Excellent, eye-opening book about a man raised in a segregated black neighborhood, gets a full scholarship to Duke University, and eventually becomes a psychiatrist. We see through his eyes his experiences, dealing with race in many different situations, his own background prejudices, and the need to deal with ones prejudices while dealing with patients. It is an excellent book and I found it riveting.


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Oct 20, 2016

The son of a working class African-American family from Maryland, in 1996 Damon Tweedy accepted a scholarship to Duke University Medical School. As he began learning about various diseases and conditions, he was soon bombarded by a familiar refrain: “more common in blacks than in whites.” Tweedy initially assumed these problems were genetic vulnerabilities, but his experiences soon led him to realize that social and economic factors were, in most cases, much more significant, and in turn these factors play out “along racial lines.” Initially intent on avoiding drawing any attention to his race, Tweedy instead becomes interested in reducing these disparities.


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