March 13, 2021

Karmanos to hold Health Equity Book Club discussion March 25

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute invites health care professionals, including trainees and students, as well as community members, to participate in the second installment of its Health Equity Book Club. This quarter’s conversation will focus on “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. The virtual discussion will take place March 25 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Participants can register here.

Michael Simon, M.D., M.P.H.

Created by Michael Simon, M.D., M.P.H., co-leader of the Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team and Wayne State University professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology, the purpose of the Health Equity Book Club is to enhance awareness of systematic racism, inequality and misinformation within the medical community. This is achieved through research and reading, followed by honest and transparent conversations about difficult topics.

“To deliver outstanding and equitable medical care to every patient we serve, as well as their caregivers and family members, we must provide support and empowerment within and beyond the scope of the practice of medicine,” Dr. Simon said. “This requires us to understand the experiences and history of people from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds. By reading and discussing books that shed light on disparities and inequities, we can open doors to an honest dialogue that may lead to meaningful and positive enhancement of the doctor-patient relationship.”

Panelists include:

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., president of Wayne State University

Michael Simon, M.D., M.P.H., (moderator)

Louis Penner, Ph.D., WSU professor emeritus of Oncology

Mindy Kim, third-year WSU medical student

Anitta Orr, Connor Creek Cancer Action Council member

Denise Henderson, M.Ed., B.S.N., R.N., Oncology nurse and Patient and Community educator at Karmanos

In “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” Isabel Wilkerson provides a portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings has shaped America today and throughout its history. The book is a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, Oprah’s Book Club Pick and National Book Award Longlist selection.

“For our first Health Equity Book Club discussion, we read ‘Medical Apartheid’ by Margaret Washington, which provided a solid foundation for our understanding of health inequity in the U.S,” Dr. Simon said. “Now, ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents’ will build on that foundation by providing explicit examples of how the ‘caste system’ in the U.S. is built into all fabrics of daily life. This book also widens the scope of the discussion by incorporating the experience of other exploited groups, including Dalit in India and Jews in Germany before and during World War II.”

The Karmanos Cancer Institute Health Equity Book Club’s mission is to build awareness across the Karmanos Community and among health care professionals of issues related to and stemming from systematic racism in the health care system and society. By revealing the contributing factors and results of racism, the club seeks to highlight an important goal: to expose and better understand the impact of racism on the practice of medicine.

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