Medical bias against women of color: discussion of unspoken treatment in medical system


Katie McClung, Marion senior, rides her bike through the spring snow on Monday, April 18, 2022, past the Dow Science building.

A discussion about “Medical Bias Against Women of Color” will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 at Dow Science 179.

Faith in Femininity at Central Michigan University and Student National Medical Association are organizing the event. Donnesha Blake, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at CMU’s College of Medicine, will be the keynote speaker of the night. 

Blake said the discussion will center around attitudes in the medical field towards women of color that are not commonly spoken about.

“We are going to explore the different intersections of identity and how that shapes how women of color navigate the medical system,” Blake said. 

Blake said the event will start with a presentation from the Faith in Femininity at CMU, then continue with Blake’s speech and end with audience participating in a discussion. 

“It’s important that we know what our biases are so that we can serve people,” Blake said. “We want to make sure that people are able to live healthy lives.”

According to Blake, medical bias is when there is expressed bias through treatment or lack of treatment based on a presumed understanding of someone’s identity or background. She said, for example, a bias that is going to be discussed is that Black women have a higher threshold for pain.

Blake said she is excited for the event and is hoping hear a lot of questions from students.

“I hope that people start to have some action items that they can (use), how to intervene when they hear or see behaviors that they know are biased,” Blake said.

According to Engage Central‘s website, those planning to attend have to RSVP.