Why Racial Bias Exists and Persists in Medicine? – CURF Introduction: Satya Paruchuri

My name is Satya Paruchuri and I am a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellow and UHC Research Fellow. I am a sophomore student in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences pursuing majors in Neuroscience and Psychology, a minor in Chemistry, and Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate.

Under the mentorship of Professor Calum Matheson, I am studying the historical and present influences on why racial biases occur in the medical field. As a member of the BIPOC (black, indigenous, and person of color) community, I often felt as if I am not receiving the same care as my white counterparts.

While working as an Emergency Medical Technician during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, this feeling was exacerbated. I was able to see how differences in healthcare impacted the overall health of communities. In one predominantly BIPOC community, my day was spent call after call with patients ill from preventable conditions. In another community I volunteered at, many days were not busy. If I did get a call, it was for more unpreventable issues like a car accident or COVID-19. It was clear to me that differences in the community and the accessibility to healthcare had a huge impact on the community’s overall health.

After doing research on biases in medicine, I learned that this is a systemic issue stemming from historical events and the demographics of physicians throughout history. My research hopes to elucidate why the BIPOC community feels this way through anecdotes and interviews with figures in the field.

As an aspiring physician, I felt that such research was important for my own enlightenment as well as to teach others pursuing a career in medicine. the complexities of public health and medicine. I believe the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship is the perfect opportunity to achieve this.

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