medical students

medical students

URMC medical students participate in national action: #WhiteCoats4BlackLives

23h ago
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On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, University of Rochester Medical Center medical students participated in a nation-wide action calling for die-ins and protests because #BlackLivesMatter. The die-ins and demonstrations happened at more than 70 medical schools to protest the "lack of indictments for police killings in Ferguson, Mo., and New York, and to spotlight racial bias as a public health issue," according to a press release from Physicians for a National Health Program. #WhiteCoats4BlackLives came together at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry seemingly over night according to Emily Walters, a third year medical student. "On Facebook yesterday I saw someone at a different school post about this med student die-in. I clicked on the link to see what it said. It said that there were over 50 schools and Rochester wasn't on the list, which was surprising to me because we are--I feel like as a school our culture is very committed to social justice--the administration is very supportive of social justice," Walters said. "We started posting about it on social media and there was such a huge need for it by students that it came together really easily. A few posts on social media, a couple of emails, and the passion of the students," and #WhiteCoats4BlackLives materialized on campus happening that day at noon with over 70 students participating in the die-in. The national call-out was endorsed by Students for a National Health Program, part of Physicians for a National Health Program ( www.pnhp.org ), an organization more 19,000 physicians, health professionals, medical and health professional students who advocate for universal, single-payer, improved Medicare for all. Nationally, the die-ins happened around 3pm. However, in Rochester, they happened at noon. According to the Facebook event page, "Our event will take place at noon in order to accommodate the schedules of our medical students. Our advisory deans encourage students who are currently scheduled for advisory dean lunch but who wish to participate in this event to participate in this event and then attend advisory dean lunch afterwards." During the die-in, Michael Seaberry, a first year medical student, read a piece he had recently written regarding the death of his father, a police officer, and the non-indictments of killer cops, Darren Wilson & Daniel Pantaleo. "I wrote this piece, then ironically, about a week later, the grand jury announcements were made about not indicting officer Wilson in Ferguson. So I tweaked it a little bit to go more along with the things that have happened to me by police officers--like being pulled over at gun point for no apparent reason at all by three police cars--which was very scary," Seaberry said. "My dad, being a police officer, I sort of see both parallels; I really trust police officers because that's what my dad was, and I'm also afraid of police officers in a sense, because of the things that have been going on and because I'm a young, black male." "We as medical students feel that this is an important time for medical institutions to respond to the violence and race-related trauma that affect our communities and the patients we serve," states the press release. "Racial bias and violence are not exclusively a problem of the criminal justice system. As we have seen in Ferguson, Mo., New York, and countless other places, bias kills, sickens, and provides inadequate care. As medical students, we must take a stand against the oppression of our black and brown patients, colleagues, friends, and family. By standing together at medical schools nationwide, we hope to demonstrate that the medical student community views racial violence as a public health crisis. We are #whitecoats4blacklives."