Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine (Hardcover)
September 2015 Indie Next List
“Black Man in a White Coat would be an important book no matter when it was published, but in this season of Ferguson and Charleston, when we must assert more loudly and clearly than ever that black lives matter, the book is essential reading. Dr. Tweedy reflects on the issues faced by black professionals as they confront racism in their careers and black patients as they face the inequities of our health care system. This book is introspective and inspiring in a way that a less personal narrative could not be. We owe the author our gratitude for shining a spotlight on these important issues.”
— Carole Horne (W), Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S TOP TEN NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK SELECTION - A BOOKLIST EDITORS' CHOICE BOOK SELECTION
One doctor's passionate and profound memoir of his experience grappling with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black Americans
When Damon Tweedy begins medical school, he envisions a bright future where his segregated, working-class background will become largely irrelevant. Instead, he finds that he has joined a new world where race is front and center. The recipient of a scholarship designed to increase black student enrollment, Tweedy soon meets a professor who bluntly questions whether he belongs in medical school, a moment that crystallizes the challenges he will face throughout his career. Making matters worse, in lecture after lecture the common refrain for numerous diseases resounds, "More common in blacks than in whites."
Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of many health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. In this powerful, moving, and deeply empathic book, Tweedy explores the challenges confronting black doctors, and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care.
About the Author
Damon Tweedy is a graduate of Duke Medical School and Yale Law School. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham VA Medical Center. He has published articles about race and medicine in the "Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)" and the "Annals of Internal Medicine." His columns and op-eds have appeared in the "New York Times," the "Chicago Tribune," the "Raleigh News & Observer," and the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution." He lives outside Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.