Reply To: Black Man In A White Coat

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Anna Wakita

I agree with your thoughts– there is certainly a danger in over-generalizations, especially when ideas are compounded with sensory information like visuals, language use, etc. This was the fault in cultural competency, in which medical providers often relied on cultural stereotypes instead of actually trying to understand individual circumstances. The medical system further exacerbates this, starting with medical school admissions and the lack of caregivers available to the population. With so many doctors and caregivers outnumbered by patients, it is difficult to take the time to listen to patients’ stories. The general idea of medicine, to generalize patients based on medical history alone, also pushes caregivers to categorize patients within a recurring, stereotypical framework in order to become more efficient and get through with more work. The problem with this thinking, however, is that more efficient doesn’t necessarily mean better outcome, especially within the realm of health within the context of deep social issues.