Uché Blackstock

Cutting racial bias

2 minute read

Growing up in Brooklyn, Dr. Uché Blackstock assumed most doctors were Black women like her physician mother and her own pediatrician. When Blackstock eventually went to Harvard Medical School (alongside her twin sister Oni) and became a doctor herself, she realized how wrong that assumption was: only about 5% of practicing U.S. physicians are Black. The Blackstocks, in fact, were the first Black mother-daughter legacies in Harvard Medical School’s history.

In 2019, Blackstock quit her job as a professor of emergency medicine at NYU Langone Health to do something about those dismal statistics and the wider problem of racial inequality in medicine. In its five years of existence, her consulting firm, Advancing Health Equity (where she is CEO), has helped major companies, hospitals, and health systems—including Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the New York State Department of Health—learn the history of racism in medicine, eliminate unconscious biases from their businesses, and create strategic plans for promoting equitable health care moving forward.

Between that work and her best-selling 2024 book, Legacy—which she describes as part family memoir, part call to action to fix racial health disparities—“I’ve been able to have a larger impact than I was able to have within a [medical] organization,” Blackstock says. “I’ve been able to use my voice in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to if I was still in academic medicine.”

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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com