Tag Archives: medical

Nine advances in medical science that help the NHS save lives

Vaccines

Within five years of the birth of the NHS, a mass vaccination programme was in place to immunise children against some of the most serious diseases of the day: tuberculosis, smallpox, diphtheria and whooping cough. In 1956, the polio vaccine was introduced, followed in 1968 by a vaccine for measles. The next big step forward was the introduction of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1988, and by the early 2000s, children were also receiving vaccines against different forms of meningitis. The HPV vaccine to protect girls against cervical cancer was introduced in 2008. Vaccination has been hugely successful, eradicating smallpox altogether and nearly eradicating polio and other diseases such as diphtheria; only a handful of such cases are now reported each year and they rarely prove fatal.

Keyhole surgery

Keyhole surgery


Keyhole surgery has been widely used since the 1990s. Photograph: Getty Images/Westend61

Keyhole surgery, or laparoscopy, in which surgeons make small incisions through which they insert thin instruments and a tiny camera to see what they’re doing, has been widely used since the 1990s. An operation that would once have involved a large incision can now be carried out with minimum impact. Helgi Johannsson, a consultant anaesthetist at Imperial College Healthcare, describes keyhole surgery as “one of the greatest advances in surgery of recent times”, adding that it has “significantly reduced complication rates, pain, and the time in hospital. Operations that previously would have resulted in a long stay in hospital now [allow patients to] go home after a few hours, thanks to keyhole surgery and improvements in anaesthetic drugs and techniques.”

Antibiotics

Alexander Fleming


Other antibiotics soon followed the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928. Photograph: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 arguably represents the greatest medical advance in the 20th century, though a team of researchers at the University of Oxford carried out the critical steps that enabled the substance to be used to cure bacterial infections. Other antibiotics soon followed, and diseases that once killed millions of people, such as tuberculosis, could now be cured. The NHS now issues more than 30m prescriptions a year for antibiotics, but a new threat has emerged: 5,000-12,000 people die each year in the UK from antibiotic-resistant infections. Unless we alter prescribing patterns, warns Dr Hamira Ul-Haque, medical officer at Push Doctor, we could “potentially return modern medicine to the pre-antibiotic era of untreatable and fatal infections.”

Medical imaging

An MRI scan


The 1970s saw the advent of the MRI scan.
Photograph: Sigrid Gombert/Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive

X-rays have been available since the 19th century, but the 1970s saw the advent of two other revolutionary technologies: the computed tomography (CT) scan, sometimes referred to as a Cat scan, and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Both can produce very clear images of the inside of the body, including internal organs, blood vessels and bones, making it possible to detect and diagnose diseases such as stokes and cancer, as well as joint damage or internal organ damage. The number of scans carried out by the NHS rises annually, however, it currently stands at 40m a year, a figure that includes X-rays and ultrasound as well as MRI and CT scans. Combined with a growing shortage of radiologists, this increased demand is adding to the pressure on the NHS.

Organ transplants

Dr Christian Bernard (left).


Dr Christiaan Barnard, left, carried out the first successful heart transplant in 1967. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

In 1954, just six years after the NHS was founded, surgeons Joseph Murray and J Hartwell Harrison in Boston, US, carried out the first successful organ transplant, taking a kidney from one donor and transferring it to his identical twin brother. Other organ transplants followed, including the first successful heart transplant in 1967, carried out by Dr Christiaan Barnard. The same year saw the first successful liver transplant. In 2016-17, the NHS carried out 4,139 organ transplants, the vast majority from donors who had died, though the figure includes 921 kidney transplants and 30 partial liver transplants from living donors. Many more lives could be saved, however, if more people joined the Organ Donor Register: about 7,000 people in the UK are waiting for an organ transplant at any one time.

Safety culture in anaesthesia

Nurse holding anaesthesia mask


The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has had a major impact. Photograph: Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

Sometimes the simplest of changes can make a huge difference. “There have been enormous strides forward in understanding how human behaviour causes error,” says Johannsson. He cites the introduction of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008, which has a series of checks to make before and after surgery, as having a major impact – research has shown that implementation of the checklist reduces complication resulting from surgery by one-third and deaths from surgery by half. Safety checks include confirming enough blood is on hand and medical staff introducing themselves, which is crucial to clear communication in an operating environment that contains health professionals of different specialisms and backgrounds.

Pacemakers

Surgeon Holding Heart Pacemaker


In the UK, about 25,000 people have a pacemaker fitted each year. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

The cardiac pacemaker was invented in 1949 by a Canadian electrical engineer, John Hopps, who discovered that electrical stimulation could keep the heart beating in hypothermic dogs. Nine years later, Arne Larsson, a 43-year-old Swede, was suffering from cardiac arrhythmia, which had worsened as a result of a viral infection, and had a heartrate of only 28 beats a minute. Cardiologist Rune Elmqvist carried out the operation to insert the pacemaker, after which Larsson survived to the age of 86. Today, about 25,000 people in the UK have a pacemaker fitted each year. GP May Jay Ali has seen the impact on patients with a very slow heartrate: “They go into hospital and have a pacemaker and come out two days later – and that’s their life saved. It has been significant.”

Antiretroviral therapy for HIV

Tablets


Treatment using a combination of antiretroviral drugs means HIV can be managed. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

When Aids, caused by the HIV virus, took hold in the 1980s, there was no cure. The first case of Aids was diagnosed in the UK in 1981 and over the next few years Aids/HIV became an epidemic, killing almost 9,000 people before 1994. Development of a treatment using a combination of antiretroviral drugs in the late 1990s means that HIV can be managed: approximately 100,000 people are now living with the virus in the UK. “When I was a medical student in 1994 HIV was a death sentence,” Johannsson recalls. “The HIV wards were overflowing with incredibly sick patients and death was a daily occurrence. Two years later when I returned, the service had transformed, and death was rare. However, there is still a long way to go to eradicate HIV worldwide.”

Understanding the human genome

Scientists looking at DNA model


The human genome has helped scientists better understand diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Photograph: Adam Gault/Getty Images

Since the human genome was mapped in 2003, it has helped scientists better understand diseases caused by mutations in a single gene inherited from parents, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. Doctors now hope that they will be able to treat inherited diseases through gene therapy, which involves either introducing “good” genes into targeted cells to treat a patient, or modifying the genes in egg or sperm cells. In other diseases, combined mutations in multiple genes can lead to a predisposition to certain illnesses, such as breast cancer. By understanding a patient’s genetic make-up, doctors will be able to predict the development of a disease and intervene early. There is still a long way to go, but genetics holds out a great deal of promise.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs

Nine advances in medical science that help the NHS save lives

Vaccines

Within five years of the birth of the NHS, a mass vaccination programme was in place to immunise children against some of the most serious diseases of the day: tuberculosis, smallpox, diphtheria and whooping cough. In 1956, the polio vaccine was introduced, followed in 1968 by a vaccine for measles. The next big step forward was the introduction of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1988, and by the early 2000s, children were also receiving vaccines against different forms of meningitis. The HPV vaccine to protect girls against cervical cancer was introduced in 2008. Vaccination has been hugely successful, eradicating smallpox altogether and nearly eradicating polio and other diseases such as diphtheria; only a handful of such cases are now reported each year and they rarely prove fatal.

Keyhole surgery

Keyhole surgery


Keyhole surgery has been widely used since the 1990s. Photograph: Getty Images/Westend61

Keyhole surgery, or laparoscopy, in which surgeons make small incisions through which they insert thin instruments and a tiny camera to see what they’re doing, has been widely used since the 1990s. An operation that would once have involved a large incision can now be carried out with minimum impact. Helgi Johannsson, a consultant anaesthetist at Imperial College Healthcare, describes keyhole surgery as “one of the greatest advances in surgery of recent times”, adding that it has “significantly reduced complication rates, pain, and the time in hospital. Operations that previously would have resulted in a long stay in hospital now [allow patients to] go home after a few hours, thanks to keyhole surgery and improvements in anaesthetic drugs and techniques.”

Antibiotics

Alexander Fleming


Other antibiotics soon followed the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928. Photograph: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 arguably represents the greatest medical advance in the 20th century, though a team of researchers at the University of Oxford carried out the critical steps that enabled the substance to be used to cure bacterial infections. Other antibiotics soon followed, and diseases that once killed millions of people, such as tuberculosis, could now be cured. The NHS now issues more than 30m prescriptions a year for antibiotics, but a new threat has emerged: 5,000-12,000 people die each year in the UK from antibiotic-resistant infections. Unless we alter prescribing patterns, warns Dr Hamira Ul-Haque, medical officer at Push Doctor, we could “potentially return modern medicine to the pre-antibiotic era of untreatable and fatal infections.”

Medical imaging

An MRI scan


The 1970s saw the advent of the MRI scan.
Photograph: Sigrid Gombert/Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive

X-rays have been available since the 19th century, but the 1970s saw the advent of two other revolutionary technologies: the computed tomography (CT) scan, sometimes referred to as a Cat scan, and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Both can produce very clear images of the inside of the body, including internal organs, blood vessels and bones, making it possible to detect and diagnose diseases such as stokes and cancer, as well as joint damage or internal organ damage. The number of scans carried out by the NHS rises annually, however, it currently stands at 40m a year, a figure that includes X-rays and ultrasound as well as MRI and CT scans. Combined with a growing shortage of radiologists, this increased demand is adding to the pressure on the NHS.

Organ transplants

Dr Christian Bernard (left).


Dr Christiaan Barnard, left, carried out the first successful heart transplant in 1967. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

In 1954, just six years after the NHS was founded, surgeons Joseph Murray and J Hartwell Harrison in Boston, US, carried out the first successful organ transplant, taking a kidney from one donor and transferring it to his identical twin brother. Other organ transplants followed, including the first successful heart transplant in 1967, carried out by Dr Christiaan Barnard. The same year saw the first successful liver transplant. In 2016-17, the NHS carried out 4,139 organ transplants, the vast majority from donors who had died, though the figure includes 921 kidney transplants and 30 partial liver transplants from living donors. Many more lives could be saved, however, if more people joined the Organ Donor Register: about 7,000 people in the UK are waiting for an organ transplant at any one time.

Safety culture in anaesthesia

Nurse holding anaesthesia mask


The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has had a major impact. Photograph: Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

Sometimes the simplest of changes can make a huge difference. “There have been enormous strides forward in understanding how human behaviour causes error,” says Johannsson. He cites the introduction of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008, which has a series of checks to make before and after surgery, as having a major impact – research has shown that implementation of the checklist reduces complication resulting from surgery by one-third and deaths from surgery by half. Safety checks include confirming enough blood is on hand and medical staff introducing themselves, which is crucial to clear communication in an operating environment that contains health professionals of different specialisms and backgrounds.

Pacemakers

Surgeon Holding Heart Pacemaker


In the UK, about 25,000 people have a pacemaker fitted each year. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

The cardiac pacemaker was invented in 1949 by a Canadian electrical engineer, John Hopps, who discovered that electrical stimulation could keep the heart beating in hypothermic dogs. Nine years later, Arne Larsson, a 43-year-old Swede, was suffering from cardiac arrhythmia, which had worsened as a result of a viral infection, and had a heartrate of only 28 beats a minute. Cardiologist Rune Elmqvist carried out the operation to insert the pacemaker, after which Larsson survived to the age of 86. Today, about 25,000 people in the UK have a pacemaker fitted each year. GP May Jay Ali has seen the impact on patients with a very slow heartrate: “They go into hospital and have a pacemaker and come out two days later – and that’s their life saved. It has been significant.”

Antiretroviral therapy for HIV

Tablets


Treatment using a combination of antiretroviral drugs means HIV can be managed. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

When Aids, caused by the HIV virus, took hold in the 1980s, there was no cure. The first case of Aids was diagnosed in the UK in 1981 and over the next few years Aids/HIV became an epidemic, killing almost 9,000 people before 1994. Development of a treatment using a combination of antiretroviral drugs in the late 1990s means that HIV can be managed: approximately 100,000 people are now living with the virus in the UK. “When I was a medical student in 1994 HIV was a death sentence,” Johannsson recalls. “The HIV wards were overflowing with incredibly sick patients and death was a daily occurrence. Two years later when I returned, the service had transformed, and death was rare. However, there is still a long way to go to eradicate HIV worldwide.”

Understanding the human genome

Scientists looking at DNA model


The human genome has helped scientists better understand diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Photograph: Adam Gault/Getty Images

Since the human genome was mapped in 2003, it has helped scientists better understand diseases caused by mutations in a single gene inherited from parents, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. Doctors now hope that they will be able to treat inherited diseases through gene therapy, which involves either introducing “good” genes into targeted cells to treat a patient, or modifying the genes in egg or sperm cells. In other diseases, combined mutations in multiple genes can lead to a predisposition to certain illnesses, such as breast cancer. By understanding a patient’s genetic make-up, doctors will be able to predict the development of a disease and intervene early. There is still a long way to go, but genetics holds out a great deal of promise.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.

Top US medical schools failing to reflect minorities, social justice group says

Ten of the top US medical schools including Harvard and Yale do not have faculty and staff that reflect the country’s black, Native American and Latino population, according to a report by the social justice group White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL).

The medical student-run group, which came together in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wednesday published a 129-page report that grades medical schools on their work to combat racism.

The report, shared first with the Guardian, found that schools fell short of the activist group’s standards for 15 metrics, including providing robust anti-racism training and paying all workers a living wage for the local area.

Kathryn Himmelstein, one of nine people on White Coats for Black Lives’ national working group, told the Guardian they wanted to: “Turn a light on those 10 schools but also open up questions about what other academic medical centers do, and encourage folks at those places to inquire, to research, to question what their institutions could be doing better.”

For the inaugural report, WC4BL assessed:

  • Harvard Medical School in Boston
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
  • University of California in San Francisco
  • University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
  • Yale School of Medicine in New Haven

WC4BL selected the first 10 schools for its inaugural report because of their prominence and student interest in attending these schools and it plans to grade more schools in the future.

Of150 grades allotted across the 15 metrics for 10 universities, only eight were As, denoting the best record.

Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Thomas Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania said they embraced diversity and welcomed WC4BL’s report, but felt the analysis overlooked initiatives or had a questionable methodology.

Joseph Hill, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Thomas Jefferson University’s Enterprise Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, said he was concerned information was missing from the report and highlighted that the school offered the only scholarship in the country for African-American males in medical school.

“We would welcome a discussion with our student members of White Coats for Black Lives about the many ways we are working to address these important issues,” Hill said.

Harvard medical school dean George Q Daley said the school had made significant advances in social progress, but acknowledged there was more work to be done. “All of us at Harvard Medical School share their commitment to ensuring that students who identify as being from populations underrepresented in medicine are fully supported and equipped with the resources to help them achieve progress in areas where, as a nation, we often fall short of our aspirations,” said Daley.

Mary Masson, a University of Michigan medical spokesperson, said the school was looking forward to continued conversations with the group. “We were happy to provide additional details about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in several areas that were rated prior to receiving this information,” the statement said. “Together, we hope to continue elevating our shared values for the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals and scientists.”

Yale School of Medicine also said it appreciated WC4BL raising these issues and highlighted the school’s efforts to create “a diverse interdisciplinary healthcare workforce who reflect and serve the diversity of the community.”

Mt Sinai and Washington University did not respond to requests for comment.

A call to colleges to fight US healthcare disparities

That race bias pervades medical institutions, research and care has been highlighted in studies showing black infants in the US are twice as likely to die as white infants, while black patients are less likely to be prescribed pain medicine. Black life expectancy is 3.6 years lower than white life expectancy in the US.

But only in recent decades has the impact of this bias been extensively researched.

With the report, WC4BL sought to use its power as a force within medical schools to outline how these elite institutions could leverage their power to help disadvantaged people and eliminate disparities in US healthcare.

Since December 2014, the group has led “die-in” protests at medical schools and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including one held across the country last week in honor of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in March.

Himmelstein, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said WC4BL focused its first major report on medical schools because they are often the largest employers in their region, receive government funding for research and medical care and are gatekeepers to joining the medical profession. “Given they control so many resources and have this important social role, there was shockingly little accountability for how medical schools were or were not promoting social justice,” said Himmelstein.

In the report, each school was given a letter grade on 15 metrics, such as its policies toward immigrant patients. A is the best, B is middle and C is the worst.

The first metric assessed in the report is URM representation, the Association for American Medical Colleges term for the populations underrepresented in medicine.

Under the WC4BL criteria, schools receive an A if their student and faculty URM representation was proportionate to the US: at least 13% Black, 1% Native American and 17% Latinx – a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. If a school met the minimum percentage for one of these groups, WC4BL gave it a B. If the school does not have a proportionate amount of any of these groups, WC4BL gave it a C – which is what all of the 10 schools were designated.

Colleges’ strongest at race discrimination reporting

On average, the 10 schools performed best in the area of discrimination reporting, with no school receiving a C because they all had racial discrimination policies. The University of Michigan, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Yale School of Medicine were awarded As because they offer continued, documented support to people who make discrimination claims.

Grades were also handed out based on how the school recognizes people of color; how it involves community health leaders in the coursework; whether it calls race a social, not biological, construct; if it makes data about racial grade disparities public; what support is given to the URM population; if staff are compensated in line with the region’s minimum living wage; if it offers alternatives to police and security forces and what its standards are for how racial and ethnic minorities are incorporated into research.

WC4BLwas inspired in part by the Black Panthers’ work to provide alternative healthcare for underrepresented communities.

“We hope there will be greater discussion both within the medical community as well as outside the medical community, about how are we leveraging the resources of academic medical centers to promote racial justice,” said Himmelstein.

WC4BL provided a copy of the report card to each university before the report’s release.

The group said that many of the schools provided additional information that was not previously publicly available to help build out the report, even if they disagreed with some of the assessments.