Racism and Health Inequity Explored with US Surgeons General
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Diversity Event Addresses Racism and Health Disparities

October 2, 2020

Screenshot of five former US Surgeon Generals participating in a video conference during the debut of the documentary film Open Season: Racism and Health Disparities, The Two Deadliest Diseases in AmericaAfter screening a film on race and health care, five former U.S. Surgeons General participated in a roundtable Q&A.

On Thursday, September 23, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (PCOM) Office of Diversity and Community Relations sponsored a two-part event focused on equity in access to healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first part of the event featured the debut of Open Season: Racism and Health Disparities, The Two Deadliest Diseases in America, directed by Crystal R. Emery. The second part of the event included a roundtable discussion with five former US Surgeons General. The event was hosted by the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

“The presentation of this film and discussion with the Surgeons General are incredible opportunities for our students, and medical students everywhere, to better understand the insidious nature of health care disparities and to acquire skills to grow beyond them,” said Stuart D. Flynn, founding dean of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, which is a presenting partner in the panel discussion. “The more light that we can shine on these issues, the more we can empower change, forging us closer to building a system that is fair and equitable for all.”

The panel discussion was moderated by Dorothy Jones-Davis, PhD, founding Executive Director of Nation of Makers, a nonprofit that helps America’s maker organizations through community building, resource sharing and advocacy. The five former U.S. Surgeons General who participated in the roundtable Q&A included:

  • Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General, who served during former President George W. Bush's administration.
  • Dr. Joycelyn Elders, 15th Surgeon General and the United States' first black surgeon general, who also served under Clinton.
  • Dr. Vivek Murthy, 19th Surgeon General, who served during former President Barack Obama’s administration.
  • Dr. Antonia Novello, 14th Surgeon General, who served during former President George H.W. Bush's administration.
  • Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General, who served during former President Bill Clinton's administration.

Open Season: Racism and Health Disparities, the Two Deadliest Diseases in America was produced by URU, The Right to Be, Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses multimedia solutions at the intersection of the arts, humanities, science and technology to move all stakeholders toward a more equitable and humane world.

Learn more about the film The Deadliest Disease in America.

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    For the past 125 years, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education, operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and school psychology. The college also offers graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, physician assistant studies, and school psychology. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.

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