Although I write a blog that centers people of color in exploring the connections between the medical system and race  -- an activity that has always been fundamentally personal -- I rarely discuss how it personally affects me. The occasions in which I have, were driven by my need to make sense of Trayvon and Walter, Tamir and Freddie and ...

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The American health care system is set up to care for a certain subset of the population -- sick people -- people with chronic disease, acute illness, acute injury, and complex disorders like cancer or metabolic issues. The problem is, this set up doesn’t create market incentives to care for the well effectively, or to identify those at risk for disease and efficiently and reliably intervene, at scale. To reconcile this cognitive dissonance ...

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Scalability is the end goal of nearly every tech start-up, systems innovation, and teenager you-tubing their cat -- it’s going viral, business-style. And traditionally, it’s been seen as a marker of relevance and success. Growth is good, right? But in health care systems transformation, do we lose something meaningful when we measure the value of our work by its national impact? Take Iora Health, a new health ...

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As Baltimore erupts in fiery protest following the death of Freddie Gray, the city joins scores of others who have recently challenged the role of police in community. With the disproportionate representation of black males in the correctional system and the videotaped deaths of those approached by police for seemingly petty infractions, the longstanding concern for a criminal justice system that differentially treats communities of color, is ...

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The recent killing of Walter Scott was another brutal reminder of the home African-Americans wake to daily. Their America, is one where your father might not come home at night, because his brake light went out, and that cost him his life. It's a place where petty crimes are penalized by life sentences, doled out on the streets by the very men and women charged with their ...

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The tragic deaths of Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and untold others, deeply grieve our national conscience. But more black men die in America from heart disease than from police brutality, and we never mention those parallel realities in the same breath, let alone collectively mourn those dead. Why is that? Because it’s not just that African-Americans have higher rates of heart disease and its related risk ...

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shutterstock_213974764 There is little to say once you’ve said this before. Although the sadness brings fresh tears, they are also old tears. The grief becomes familiar and so too the inevitable resumption of everyday life. The pain bores to the soul but settles in the subconscious, where it rests, privately born and quietly hidden, lest 
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In the post-Affordable Care Act health care landscape, sweeping hospital closures have created new barriers to access in a system already criticized for its fragmentation and saturation. Looking back over the past 20 years, urban hospitals, and urban trauma centers in particular, bore the brunt of this impact, closing at the highest rates in the country. Now, evidence suggests the impact of urban hospital closures may disproportionately affect those ...

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Earlier this year, I started teaching a course to first year pediatric residents at Stanford. In it, I challenge the trainees to identify the structural contexts in which patients and families make choices that may impact their health and well-being. Termed structural competency, the goal is to enable young physicians to understand and confront stigma and inequality as key determinants of health. We talk about ...

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I recently published an article on that garnered a lot of attention. It was titled,"The Myth of the Entitled Single Mother Remains as Relevant as Ever." In it, I reversed the popularized notion that single mothers are a societal liability and suggested that instead, they are powerful forces in our local economies and influential leaders of future generations. I presented the idea that how society thinks about ...

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