On June 13, several physicians and clinical staff from DFMCH joined hundreds of other health care professionals at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to rally for Black lives.

Milap Dubal, MD, and Claire Gervais, MD, participate in the White Coats for Black Lives rally in Madison.

Milap Dubal, MD, and Claire Gervais, MD, participate in the White Coats for Black Lives rally in Madison.

White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) is a national medical student-run organization with goals to foster dialogue on racism as a public health concern, end racial discrimination in medical care, and prepare future physicians to be advocates for racial justice. WC4BL boasts 32 chapters around the country including the one at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) that organized the Madison event.

DFMCH Shows Support

Dr. Milap Dubal got involved because he is passionate about ending the institutional racism that exists and is prevalent in the health care system. “I feel that it is critical for health care providers to get involved and push for systemic change,” said Dubal. Another DFMCH physician, Dr. Kellia Hansmann, shared that sentiment. “The WC4BL movement is a vital part of our mission to advance health and well-being,” said Hansmann. “Now more than ever, we need to be taking action to make our health care systems meet that mission for historically disadvantaged patients.”

A Focus on Change

The peaceful 2-hour assembly included speeches from health care professionals, health profession students, and community leaders from across the state focused on increasing awareness and promoting steps toward change. Dubal was inspired by the number of people dedicated to the movement and pointed to the DFMCH Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI) as an example of action at a local level. “The DEI Committee is always focused on improving equity and is focused on creating changes within the UW System,” said Dubal. “They spend a lot of time thinking about and working on ways to promote diversity, bring in speakers, and create and promote events to spread awareness.” Hansmann also praised the DEI for the impact it had on her as a resident. “I participated in multiple facilitated discussions about race, identity and privilege that have helped give me a framework for how I can participate in anti-racist actions. Even with these training sessions though, I believe we can still do more to recruit a workforce that better reflects the patients we take care of,” added Hansmann. “ I think we need to continue to critically evaluate what could make diverse applicants feel welcome and supported here.”

The UWSMPH WC4BL Chapter will continue to organize and promote future events as part of the Student National Medical Association, Inc. 

WC4BL Slideshow

Hundreds of health care professionals gathered on the steps near the Capitol to raise awareness about racism in health care.
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Published: July 2020