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School of Medicine research finds need for interventions against anti-Black racism in academic medicine

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New research from Pitt’s School of Medicine, led by Assistant Professor Maya Ragavan and Associate Professor Jessica Merlin, highlights the urgent need for interventions against anti-Black racism in academic medicine.

The paper, published in JAMA Network Open, also indicates the need for leadership buy-in and financial commitments for such actions to be developed and effectively implemented.

Co-authors included Flor de Abril Cameron, Utibe R. Essien, Megan E. Hamm, Naudia Jonassaint, Dedeepya Konuthula, Orquidia Torres and Eloho Ufomata, all of Pitt.

In the study, researchers recorded experiences of anti-Black racism among faculty and trainees in academic medical centers across the United States and proposed strategies to address them.

Participants noted struggles with representation, challenges with recruitment and retention, microaggressions and overt racism. Many described a “minority tax” — feeling overloaded with and expected to be involved with all diversity initiatives without compensation or recognition for the work.

Intervention recommendations included ensuring faculty have a solid foundation on the historical underpinnings of anti-Black racism and how policies in their institutions lead to disparities; offering opportunities to practice anti-racism skills; making interventions mandatory for all non-Black faculty; and providing monetary and time compensation for developing and implementing interventions.