Mind the Gap - helping to end medical racism.
It’s well known that the healthcare system, though universal, doesn’t treat people the same with that universal care. Race and gender have both been shown to impact the care you receive, assumptions made by you by doctors, and the treatment offered to you. For instance, a 2017 study showed that black women are 22% more likely to die of heart disease than white women, despite their not being a biological reason for this. Black women are 5 times more likely to die in childbirth despite their not being any biological reason for this. Black women are less likely to get breast cancer than white women, but more likely to die from it, and the reason for this is largely down to later stage detection in black women.
Which brings us to this book. Mind The Gap is a project that came to be after Malone Mukwende noticed as a first year medical student, that what he was being taught to look out for as symptoms, wouldn’t present that way on darker skin. “Is there a red rash?” “Do they look flush?” “Do they look pale?” “Have their lips gone blue?” - all of these things are known as “white skin bias”. All this means is that the way doctors are taught, centres white skin as the standard. The way they’re taught means illness can be detected a lot earlier in white patients because the symptoms present the way doctors expect.
Malone thought this was evidence of black and brown patients being offered compromised care from the beginning, and to improve the overall care of black and brown patients, this needed to change. So in second year, along with lecturers Margot Turner and Peter Tamony, they set to work creating a book that would describe clinical signs on black and brown skin, and Mind The Gap was born.
Though not yet published, the team are currently in conversation with publishers about getting this done. Public interest will help get this done. Please share, because this resource could quite literally change the face of medicine, and who knows how many lives could be saved if doctors knew what to look out for on skin that’s darker than white.
Visit our instagram for an easy to share infographic about the book.