Health care workers, students, take part in ‘White Coats for Black Lives’

Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 6:19 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Hundreds of doctors, nurses, and medical students in Iowa City took part in a nationwide movement to address racial injustice, called “White Coats for Black Lives.”

A group of hundreds filled the courtyard of the Medical Education Research Facility at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Friday but were absent of sound. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd before he died, the large group knelt in silence.

“It’s showing that as a health care community, who our focus is saving lives, helping people to have healthy lives, is that black lives are important in that,” said Dr. Nicole Del Castillo, the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Del Castillo, who helped organize the event in Iowa City, said medical professionals need to be involved in the fight against racial inequality.

Del Castillo said: “If we ignore one group if we’re not focused on black lives, then how can we focus on- how can we fulfill our goals as professionals?”

In total, the only lasted about 15 minutes- but it could serve as a start to solve another issue in the health care community.

“Multiple studies have shown that many of the disparities that we see, so many can be attributed to implicit biases, biases that we aren’t aware about" said Dr. Femi Suraju, a first-year general surgery resident with University of Iowa Health Care. "And consciously thinking about this as we’re interacting with patients, I think is important.” Those studies showing black people at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, among others.

Meaning a sea of white coats on a courtyard on the UI campus, could impact black lives in more ways than one.

Suraju said: “Even before events like this happen, we should be actively asking ourselves: ‘how can we do better?’ How can we better support diversity in our community?'”

“We can make change, we can move forward in trying to lower these disparities, to eliminate, hopefully, these disparities,” Del Castillo said.

Making Friday’s actions, while quiet in nature, loud in spirit.

Hospital staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are participating in #WhiteCoatsforBlackLives, a nationwide movement against racial injustice. Aaron Scheinblum is there.

Posted by KCRG-TV9 on Friday, June 5, 2020

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