Doctors intentionally giving hepatitis to children housed at Willowbrook State School in New York. Forced sterilization in migrant detention centers. Those are just a couple of examples of the historically racist medical experiments done on people of color.
Black and Latino students on health care career paths recently shared their findings on these experiments during a summer internship program at Rush University Medical Center.
“The medical institution has always abused its power when testing on people of color,” said Kayla Allen, an intern with Rush’s Education and Career Hub program known as REACH. “They continue to do this because they feel people of color should not have the power to reproduce. To help with this disconnect and protect women, people in medicine should be more considerate of the past and actually listen to their patients. … Communication should be open and honest.”
Part of the students’ mission as future health care professionals is to rebuild shattered trust in their communities.
“Instead of taking advantage of vulnerable populations or trying to put a price tag for what it means to give birth, we should focus on empowering patients and prioritizing their autonomy and education,” said Ivan Paredes as part of his presentation with REACH titled “LAC to ICE: Sterilization Through the Decades.”
REACH’s mission is to create diversity in the medical field.