Black in the Ivory: Writers Confront Racism

The Bellevue Literary Review and the Gold Foundation brought together six physician-writers on Tuesday, Feb. 23, for an exploration of how writing can – or cannot – confront racism in academia and healthcare. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Damon Tweedy, incoming BLR Nonfiction Editor, and Dr. Danielle Ofri, BLR Editor-in-Chief.

The participants included:
Michele Harper, MD is the author of The New York Times-bestselling book The Beauty in Breaking, which earned a spot on The New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2020” list. She is an emergency room physician who has worked at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx and the VA in Philadelphia.

Ofole Mgbako, MD, is currently an infectious disease fellow at Columbia, specifically focused on HIV care and research among LGBTQ+ patients and patients of color. His writing focuses on his experience as a gay Black physician, on the patient-provider relationship, and on racism and homophobia in medicine.

Esther Choo, MD, is an emergency physician and professor at the Oregon Health & Science University. She is a popular science communicator who has used social media to talk about racism and sexism in healthcare.

Kevin Gutierrez, MD, is a graduate of the Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University where he taught courses on critical race/decolonial theory. He is a first-year resident in psychiatry at NYU and teaches on topics of medicine, chattel slavery, and critical theory.

Damon Tweedy, MD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Staff Psychiatrist at the Durham VA Health Care System, and author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine.

Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, is a primary care doctor at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, and editor-in-chief of the Bellevue Literary Review. She is a clinical professor of medicine at NYU. Her newest book is When We Do Harm, A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.