SIG: Inclusion in Neuroscience - Post 11
Author: Joshua Hernandez
Research Assistant for the B-RAD Lab at the University of Alabama
During the first week of February, our lab had the opportunity to discuss an informational video titled “Student Creates Black medical illustrations to improve education, health care.” The main idea of this video was to highlight the work of Chidiebere Ibe who has been re-illustrating medical textbooks to include black and brown skin tones. He discussed how because his country has a majority Black population (Nigeria) it did not make sense for textbooks to only show medical conditions on white skin. This is notably important when it comes to White doctors visiting Nigeria, or other majority POC nations, but having no background knowledge of how medical issues can appear on black and brown skin tones. Our lab was very impressed by his dedication (he’s a one-man team) but found that this an issue that truthfully never should have existed, especially in 2022. Reportedly only 4.5% of pictures or illustrations in general medicine textbooks include dark skin tones. Our lab found this to be a gross portrayal of negligence by the medical community and those in charge. Chidiebere also states that he didn’t want to eliminate White illustrations from textbooks completely, only juxtapose them with other skin tones. Joshua stated that they believed that maybe there shouldn’t be White illustrations and brought up the point that if we as a society were fine with an all-White textbook why can’t we celebrate and include textbooks with only POC. However, Dr. Hudac made the counterpoint that medical professionals need to know the full range of diseases, especially skin conditions, on all skin tones which is the main problem that this video tackles. Others in our lab brought up other instance of medical neglect committed against the Black community such as the dismissal of pain from doctors against POC, especially Black women. This led into a hard but important discussion about the increased morbidity of Black women when giving birth, the increased presence of postpartum depression, and the lack of diagnoses of postpartum depression of Black women when reaching out for help. Many of these problems could be alleviated with better training of racial biases within White medical professionals. While this video did not include the topic of psychology specifically, our lab brought up the lack of representation of POC in many other textbooks and academic materials and added to the argument that whiteness is often the focus of academia. Even beyond psychology, other colleges and departments have largely white-washed aspects of curriculum and foundations that are extremely difficult to change. Our lab decided to try to make some small goals of building trust within the Tuscaloosa community, trying to learn about different cultures, and trying to sit back and listen to POC voices in any space/topic. While it’s the structural changes that are needed it is our hope that through these steps we can grow as a laboratory and individual people to make important changes later on in life.
Team, F. O. X. T. V. D. (2021, December 13). Student creates black medical illustrations to improve education, health care. FOX 2 Detroit. Retrieved February 16, 2022, from https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/black-medical-illustrations-gain-popularity-with-textbook-publishers-thanks-to-student
Check here for updates and news about the B-RAD Lab.