New Study Sheds Light on Racism Faced by Black Medical Students

Medical researchers at a Saskatchewan medical school have conducted a groundbreaking study to explore the experiences of racism reported by Black medical students. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reveals disturbing instances of racism faced by Black students and residents at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine.

The study, led by Jacob Alhassan, an assistant professor at the university, involved interviews with four Black residents and nine Black students. The participants shared accounts of racism, including a senior doctor using racial slurs, comments on police brutality against Black individuals in the United States, and a general sense of not belonging.

According to Alhassan, the study highlighted the pervasive nature of racism in medical education, with Black students facing discrimination from professors, clinicians, patients, and peers. The experiences of racism were found to impact the confidence and well-being of students, particularly Black women who were unsure if mistreatment was due to their race, gender, or both.

Despite the challenges faced by Black medical students, many are hesitant to speak out due to fear of repercussions. The study also identified the need for systemic changes to address racism in medical education, including increased diversity in admissions panels, more inclusive curriculum, and anti-racism training for staff and faculty.

The findings of the study add to a growing body of research on the obstacles faced by Black medical students in Canada. Previous studies have highlighted the lack of mentorship, admission criteria, and systemic anti-Black racism in medical training.

Moving forward, the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine is committed to addressing these issues and promoting reconciliation in medical education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 10, 2024. Canadian Press health coverage is supported by a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for this content.