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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Black Doctor Takes on Racism in His New Book, “Black Man in a White Coat”

Damon Tweedy, author of Black Man in a White Coat

Author Damon Tweedy and bookcover

Nationwide — African American psychiatrist Damon Tweedy has authored a medical memoir called Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine that examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine.

In the book, rated 3 out of 4 stars by USA Today, Tweedy tells several of his life and career stories that mainly focus on how he transformed from student to practicing physician. In the stories, he also addresses the complex social, cultural, and economic factors that are at the root of many health problems in the African American community.

He also shares the adversities he has faced as a Black doctor. For example, when a professor once mistook him for a handyman and when a patient of his once used racial slurs towards him.

Tweedy, who is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University, told CBS News, “Being black can be bad for your health.” He then went on to convey his experience as a volunteer in a housing project where mostly African Americans lived. He said, “… all around you, you saw illness, you saw obesity you saw addiction and violence and it was as if the people there were cut off from the rest of society even though the outside world wasn’t that far away.”

Regarding a visit to a health clinic that had mostly Black patients, he also told CBS News, “It was pretty clear from the very beginning that we couldn’t provide the adequate care for them. They couldn’t afford the medications, the lab tests or any other treatments they needed.”

GoodReads says the book is “powerful, moving, and deeply empathic”, and USA Today calls the book a “timely, thought-provoking examination of our heartbreaking health care system.”

What others are saying:

In this fascinating, heartbreaking memoir, Tweedy documents his experiences as an African American doctor in a medical system that can be ‘just as sick as its patients.’ — O, the Oprah Magazine

In ways wholly individual but similarly intricate, Margo Jefferson, Dr. Damon Tweedy and Ta-Nehisi Coates examine the impact of race on our expectations and experiences. And in doing so, they challenge us to as well. — TIME

Tweedy reveals all you need to know about the Byzantine health care system, wide-ranging disparities that persist and, more important, how we can take control of our well-being…Black Man in a White Coat is certain to garner incredible attention during the literary awards season. It’s a book that deserves a very long shelf life. — Essence


About the Author
Dr. Damon Tweedy is a graduate of Duke Medical School and Yale Law School. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham VA Medical Center. He has published articles about race and medicine in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Annals of Internal Medicine. His columns and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Raleigh News & Observer, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Learn more at www.DamonTweedy.com