Surgery, surgical training, surgeons, and the need for social consciousness

  • Anthony Charles
    Reprint requests: Anthony Charles MD, MPH, FRCSEd, FACS, Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
    Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
    Search for articles by this author
Published:April 07, 2021DOI:
      The social, political, and health events in the United States in 2020 have resulted in an intense examination of self, community, society, and our profession. The unnecessary loss of life of unarmed African American citizens to the excessive deaths predominantly within minority communities secondary to COVID-19 has magnified the longstanding structural social injustices and systemic health inequities in the United States. There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in health care outcomes. Despite awareness, our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that lead to these disparities is incomplete, thus impeding their improvement. The Institute of Medicine’s report “Unequal Treatment” found that the causes of racial and ethnic disparities have multi-factorial dimensions, including patient, provider, and systemic factors.
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