Karmanos Health Equity Book Club

Karmanos Cancer Institute is committed to delivering outstanding and equitable medical care to every patient we serve, as well as their caregivers and family members. This commitment requires us to provide support and empowerment within and beyond the scope of medicine. The purpose of the Health Equity Book Club is to enhance awareness of systematic racism, inequality and misinformation within the medical community. This is achieved through research and reading followed by honest and transparent conversations about difficult topics. Join us as we explore ways in which we can address and respond to issues of disparities in health care delivery to enhance outcomes and better serve all patients.

Watch: Karmanos Health Equity Book Club Meeting, Oct. 22

Who Should Participate: Health care professionals, including trainees and students, as well as community members. 

What: “Medical Apartheid” by Harriet Washington

Participants are not required to read the complete text. However, please read the introduction and epilogue to have a deeper understanding of the discussion and bring informed questions to the Q&A.


Michael Simon, M.D. – Welcome and introduction of the book

Ijeoma Opara, M.D., FAAP, director, Health Equity and Justice in Medicine Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine – Overview of the Wayne State University Global Health Alliance and Global & Urban Health & Equity Program. Comments on the epilogue.

Hayley Thompson, Ph.D. – Overview of community outreach at Karmanos, including the Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement. Opening statements about the book.

Panel Discussion: Each panelist discusses a section of the book

Moderator: Michael Simon, M.D., MPH, Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team; Medical Director, Cancer Genetic Counseling Service; Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute; Professor of Oncology; Wayne State University School of Medicine. Chair, Karmanos Health Equity Book Club

Marquita T. Chamblee, Ph.D.: Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer at Wayne State University

Rhonda Dailey, M.D.: Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences Division, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Peter Lichtenberg Ph.D.: Director of the Institute of Gerontology (IOG) and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute; the Founding Director of the Wayne State University Lifespan Alliance. He also co-leads the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, which includes the Healthier Black Elders Center and the Participant Resource Pool - a registry of volunteer research participants of older African Americans

Alleda Mack, M.D.: Third Year Hematology/Oncology Fellow at Karmanos Cancer Institute. She has a degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, completed her M.D. and Ph.D. at University of Chicago followed by internal medicine residency at Loyola University in Chicago

Conclusion - Justin Klamerus, M.D., MMM, president of Karmanos Cancer Hospital & Network: Introduces the new Karmanos Diversity and Inclusion Committee and summarizes plan for how Karmanos addresses issues of systemic racism and disparities moving forward

Closing Remarks - Michael Simon, M.D.

About the Book

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.

More information

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Filipczak at 313-576-8102 or email filipczl@karmanos.org.

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