Karmanos Cancer Institute to hold Health Equity Book Club discussion March 25

Industry professionals and community members are invited to read and attend a conversation about "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute invites health care professionals, including trainees and students, as well as community members to participate in the second installment of its Health Equity Book Club. This quarter's conversation will focus on "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson. The virtual discussion will take place on March 25, 2021, 4-5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Participants can register at www.karmanos.org/bookclub.

Created by Michael Simon, M.D., MPH, co-leader of the Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team, 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.

"To deliver outstanding and equitable medical care to every patient we serve, as well as their caregivers and family members, we must provide support and empowerment within and beyond the scope of the practice of medicine," said Dr. Simon. "This requires us to understand the experiences and history of people from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds. By reading and discussing books that shed light on disparities and inequities, we can open doors to an honest dialogue that may lead to meaningful and positive enhancement of the doctor-patient relationship."


  • Special Guest M. Roy Wilson, M.D., President of Wayne State University
  • Michael Simon, M.D., MPH, Moderator, Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team; Medical Director, Cancer Genetic Counseling Service at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute; Professor of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Louis A. Penner, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University
  • Mindy Kim, Third Year Medical Student, Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Anitta Orr, Connor Creek Cancer Action Council Member
  • Denise Henderson, M.Ed., BSN, RN, OCN, Oncology Nurse and Patient and Community Educator, Karmanos Cancer Institute
About the Book

In "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents," Isabel Wilkerson provides a portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings has shaped America today and throughout its history. The book is a #1 New York Time Bestseller, Oprah's Book Club Pick and National Book Award Longlist selection. Read more about the book from the publisher at penguinrandomhouse.com.

"For our first Health Equity Book Club discussion, we read "Medical Apartheid" by Margaret Washington, which provided a solid foundation for our understanding of health inequity in the U.S. Now, 'Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents' will build on that foundation by providing explicit examples of how the 'caste system' in the US is built into all fabrics of daily life. This book also widens the scope of the discussion by incorporating the experience of other exploited groups, including Dalit in India and Jews in Germany before and during WWII," said Dr. Simon.

About the Karmanos Cancer Institute Health Equity Book Club

The Karmanos Cancer Institute Health Equity Book Club's mission is to build awareness across the Karmanos Community and amongst health care professionals of issues related to and stemming from systematic racism in the health care system and society in the United States. By revealing the contributing factors and results of racism, we seek to highlight an important goal for us as a cancer institute: to expose and better understand the impact of racism on our practice of medicine. We believe that open dialogue within our community of colleagues, patients and families will help to facilitate Karmanos Cancer Institute's goal of equal access and provision of culturally competent, quality care to all patients and their families regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.