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UMass Chan launches 2024 Diversity Campus Read with Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism

Author Uché Blackstock uses personal and historical storytelling to sound alarm on medical racism

The Diversity and Inclusion Office has chosen, Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism by Uché Blackstock, MD, for the 2024 Diversity Campus Read. The Diversity Campus Read is a program that promotes discussion about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging through literature, and encourages campus-wide action to ensure UMass Chan remains aligned with and committed to the goals outlined in the diversity and inclusion pillar of its IMPACT 2025 strategic plan.

Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine by Uché Blackstock, MD

Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine by Uché Blackstock, MD

In Legacy, Dr. Blackstock illuminates the reality of racism in medicine through a personal story of a misdiagnosis of appendicitis, which, if left unchecked, could have had a fatal consequence. Readers are given the historical context underlying the low representation of Black physicians and are urged to take action to ensure that future physicians are taught to recognize and overcome biases they may hold about their Black patients.

Blackstock and her twin sister, Oni, graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, inspired by their mother and fellow Harvard Medical School graduate, the late Dale Gloria Blackstock, MD, and making them the first Black mother–daughter legacies of the Ivy League university. A prolific career followed as Uché Blackstock served as an emergency room physician and assistant professor of academic medicine. In 2019, she founded the organization Advancing Health Equity, which has a goal of “partnering with health care organizations to dismantle racism in health care and to close the gap in racial health inequities.”

Legacy provides a critical look at the convergence of race and medicine and is a poignant memoir about the power of inspiration and perseverance against the backdrop of blatant racism and discrimination.

The Diversity and Inclusion Office has created a Library Guide complete with discussion questions and additional resources to assist readers in processing the book. Visit the Diversity and Inclusion Office for limited hard copies of the book or email DEIprograms@umassmed.edu to request an electronic copy. In addition, the Lamar Soutter Library has copies to borrow. 

Blackstock will join the UMass Chan community to discuss her memoir on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at noon. All members of the UMass Chan community are invited to register and attend the event here.