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Racism in Healthcare

blog foundations in global health virtual programs Apr 21, 2021

Racism In Healthcare

Racial discrimination is a common struggle within the healthcare systems of many countries throughout the world. Thus, it is not uncommon for both patients and healthcare workers who identify as black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) to experience higher risks of illness and lower quality of care. 

Racism plays a huge role in mental and physical health, making it difficult for people to access adequate healthcare services. There are many examples of health inequity for BIPOC found within healthcare, including lower life expectancy, higher blood pressure, low rates of influenza vaccination, increased mental health diagnoses, and a lack of access to health insurance or primary care physicians. Racism in healthcare also plays a role in infant mortality, maternal mortality, heart health, diabetes, and more. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made these disparities worse, with statistics showing that African American, Asian, and Latinx communities were more likely to die from COVID-19 than their Caucasian counterparts. At the same time, it is not uncommon for healthcare workers from marginalized groups to feel as though they could not speak up regarding the lack of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing available to them when the pandemic first began early last year.  

In an article published by Scientific American, it is said that one of the easiest ways for the medical community to address these issues begins with understanding privilege and bias within the community with a focus placed primarily on implementing implicit bias training for all healthcare workers. 

As we move forward, we must begin to implement change in our healthcare system, starting with our students' education and research. 

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How FIMRC Is Fighting Back 

With ten project sites found in rural communities worldwide, FIMRC is well aware of the inequality that exists within the healthcare spectrum. We believe in the power of education, and that is why we will be introducing a new track to dive deeper into the subject of racism and healthcare for our Virtual Global Health Fellowship program. This track will bring light to the disparities and discrimination present in the United States as well as among FIMRC sites, including highlighting the Nicaraguan refugees at Project Alajuelita, Costa Rica, racial differences between indigenous communities in Peru, and working with discrimination against the Haitian population at Project Restauración, Dominican Republic. 


This track will highlight various topics, including differences in geography, lack of access to adequate health coverage, communication difficulties between patient and provider, cultural barriers, provider stereotyping, and lack of access to providers.  

We hope that by providing this information, and opening up a conversation regarding the history of racism in healthcare, participants will take home valuable tools to begin learning about their own implicit biases, the systems in place, and how to start making a change and work towards providing equitable care as a future healthcare professional, in whatever capacity that might be.

Learn more about the Virtual Global Health Fellowship here.

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Learn More: 

As a Global Nonprofit dedicated to providing access to healthcare to underserved communities worldwide, we believe it is our mission to raise awareness of these inequalities and provide access to the tools required to make a change. We believe everyone is deserving of healthcare regardless of their race, ethnicity, or cultural practices and hope to one day see a world where healthcare is available to all. Learn more about FIMRC's mission at www.fimrc.org.

Interested in volunteering abroad or participating in our virtual programs? Check them out below!

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