Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, chair of the Roundtable, expressed appreciation to the presenters and participants. Dr. Camara Jones, workshop co-chair, then presented closing remarks, drawing from some of the points she made during her keynote address (see Chapter 2).
Dr. Jones challenged the participants with what she termed homework. She asked them to view how racism may be operating in different places and contexts with which they have contact and identify levers of interventions to counter it. She noted she had developed some “top-of-mind” suggestions related to each mechanism and asked participants to identify others.
As she presented in the keynote, Dr. Jones said mechanisms that contribute to Black underrepresentation in medicine may include:
- Structures, such as racial residential segregation, quality preschool programs, K-12 partnerships, or medical faculty diversity
- Policies, such as unequitable public school funding or truncated affirmative action policies
- Practices, including use of MCAT scores as a first hurdle, inclusion of photographs on applications, and limited outreach to HBCUs
- Norms, including that standardized tests are important predictors of success as a clinician while a student’s “distance traveled” is marginally relevant
- Values, including beliefs that Blacks are less intelligent or hardworking or other negative traits, and white supremacist ideology.
“This is not just a stimulating day with great talks,” Dr. Jones said. “We want this Roundtable meeting to create a menu of levers for dismantling racism and putting in its place a system where we can all develop to our full potential, including the genius of Black men and Black women in science, engineering, and medicine.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, we cannot return to the status quo. We need a new normal,” Dr. Jones said. She called for three items on an anti-racist agenda: “reparations, de-carceration, and a huge investment in communities with a special focus on investment in children.”
Workshop co-chair Cedric Bright closed by noting the workshop discussions covered racism and bias as a multifaceted issue, and the work of the Roundtable would continue. “This is not the end, this is just the beginning,” he said.