Chase DiMarco talks with Dr. Nicole Washington. Nicole joins Chase to discuss some difficult and uncomfortable topics that we all have to confront. This episode will focus on the issues of race, racism and representation within the healthcare and education systems.
Originally from Louisiana, Nicole moved to Oklahoma to attend medical school 20 years ago. Nicole’s previous experiences in education had been significantly more diverse but now, out of 90 students in her class, there were only 2 black students.
Nicole talks about the constant need to evaluate the attitudes of others towards her. She goes on to describe her experiences with patients who either don’t want her to treat them or assume she is there to clean the hospital room just because of her race.
Nicole and Chase go on to discuss how to avoid performative activism and encourage not only diversity, but inclusion. For Nicole, it is necessary that administrations and companies start intentionally widening their search pools. People also need to understand their own biases and learn to prevent them from influencing decision making.
Chase then asks how people can be better allies within the healthcare system. Nicole explains that just like in medicine, people should research and get a basic understanding of the issues. Show that you are actively working to support people of color by independently seeking and understanding cultural differences.
Nicole and Chase end this episode by discussing how this is not just a political issue, rather it affects all aspects of our society. People in the healthcare industry have to acknowledge going forward that the current climate has an effect on the physical and mental health of black and POC patients, physicians, and students. Healthcare professionals should be asking uncomfortable questions to create better treatment plans. Everyone has to understand what privilege means, their level of privilege, and avoid assumptions to improve healthcare and education.