The Historical Relationship Between Black America, Medicine, and Research: Deconstructing Barriers and Optimizing Care


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Audible Bleeding


In this episode, Imani and Reginald discuss with Dr. Backhus and Dr. Goodney the historical implications of the longstanding poor relationship between the Black community and the medical community, and its effect on current practices and patient care in vascular surgery. They also explore the role of research in creating demonstrable changes in practice to aid in ameliorating this relationship. Leah Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS (@leahbackhusmd) practices at Stanford Hospital and is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the VA Palo Alto, where she focuses on thoracic oncology and minimally invasive surgical techniques. She is also Co-Director of the Thoracic Surgery Clinical Research Program and has grant funding through the Veterans Affairs Administration and NIH. Her current research interests are in imaging surveillance following treatment for lung cancer and cancer survivorship. She is a member of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable of the American Cancer Society serving as Chair of the Task Group on Lung Cancer in Women. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. As an educator, Dr. Backhus is the Associate Program Director for the Thoracic Track Residency and is the Chair of the ACGME Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery.  Phillip Goodney MD, MS (@DartmthSrgHSR) is a vascular surgeon, health services researcher, Vice-Chair of Research in the Department of Surgery, Director of the Center for the Evaluation of Surgical Care at Dartmouth (CESC), and Co-Director of the VA Outcomes Group at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont. His research interests include outcomes assessment using both quantitative and qualitative methods, clinical trials, patient preferences, and shared decision making. He received a Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2010, the Lifeline Research Award from the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), and research funding from VA HSR&D, PCORI, FDA, and others. He was elected to the American Surgical Association in 2016 and serves on multiple editorial boards of surgical, cardiovascular, and health services journals.  Background The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee American Eugenics and Forced Sterilization The Story of Henrietta Lacks Johns Hopkins NP Colonoscopy Training Additional Resources:  Warren et al. (2020) “Trustworthiness before Trust — Covid-19 Vaccine Trials and the Black Community.” NEJM, 383(22) Blanchard et al.(2020)  “A Sense of Belonging.” NEJM, 383(15): 1409–1411 Armstrong et al. (2007) “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Physician Distrust in the United States.” AJPH. 97(7): 1283–1289. DeShazo, Richard D. (2020) The Racial Divide in American Medicine: Black Physicians and the Struggle for Justice in Health Care. University Press of Mississippi.  Jacobs et al. (2006) “Understanding African Americans’ Views of the Trustworthiness of Physicians.” JGIM. 21(6): 642–647 Frakt, Austin. (2020) “Bad Medicine: The Harm That Comes From Racism.” The New York Times. Tweedy, Damon. (2016) Black Man in a White Coat: a Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine. Picador, Armstrong et al. (2013) “Prior Experiences of Racial Discrimination and Racial Differences in Health Care System Distrust.” Medical Care. 51(2): 144–150 Greenwood et al. (2018) “Patient–physician gender concordance and increased mortality among female heart attack patients” PNAS. 115(34): 8569-8574. SVS Foundation VISTA Program Host Introductions Imani McElroy, MD, MPH (@IEMcElroy) is a general surgery resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. Reginald Nkansah, MD (@NkansahReginald) is a first-year vascular surgery resident at the University of Wahington in Seattle, WA. What other topics would you like to hear about? Let us know more about you and what you think of our podcast through our Listener Survey or email us at Follow us on Twitter @audiblebleeding Learn more about us at and #jointheconversation.