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Racial disparities in the medical field

Open letter by Lidvine Ngonseu Harpi, medical student, AfroMedica board member and former member of the Race and Ethnic Conscious Research and Data (RECoRD) research team of ITM
Racial disparities in the medical field
lidvine-ngonseu-harpi-web Lidvine Ngonseu Harpi

Dear healthcare students,
Dear healthcare educators,
Dear members of the healthcare education committees,

My name is Lidvine Ngonseu Harpi. I am a last year medical student at the University of Antwerp, and a board member of AfroMedica, an organization promoting diversity in the healthcare sector.

In the past 5 years of medical school, I questioned certain topics that were discussed in the lessons of our study program. Without being able to point out exactly what seemed wrong, I had a feeling that some things were not quite right. During the summer of 2022, I had the opportunity to work at the Institute of Tropical Medicine with the RECoRD (Race and Ethnic Conscious Research and Data) research team (funded by the Population Data Science Hub at the Department of Public Health). This student job finally opened my eyes by confronting me with racism in healthcare. It enabled me to find the words to describe the odd feeling I had. With this letter I want to share with you the information I gained the past months, make you aware about racial disparities in the medical field, especially here in Belgium, and finally invite you to think critically about racism in healthcare. For I believe critical thinking is the first step towards very necessary structural change.

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