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UB Department of Surgery tackles antiracism, health care inequity with new initiative

Karole Collier

The University at Buffalo Department of Surgery is tackling the issues of racism, anti-racism and representation in the fields of surgery and overall healthcare with several initiatives this year. To kick things off, the department is presenting Beyond the Knife, a lecture series. Their first Keynote Speaker is well known Author and Activist Dr. Cornel West.

Among the featured panelists is 4th-year medical school student Karole Collier. On the topic of African American and Latinx representation in her field, Collier said she’s seen very little of it in her years in school.

“To be honest, the number is quite dismal,” she said. “However, I am excited that this moment is shining light on the need for the increase in attention for those numbers to change.”

Collier said what the Surgery Department is doing, with the leadership of Surgery Chair Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg, is not only leading in the field of medicine, but also leading the medical community in addressing social justice and health care inequity.

“If it can happen here in Buffalo, it can happen anywhere,” she said. “And I really look forward to seeing more people getting engaged in this conversation, push themselves to think possibly, just a little bit differently, and extend these conversations in their own homes.”

The Surgery Department initiatives also include a summer mentorship program for underrepresented future surgeons to work alongside local surgeons and the development of a curriculum for surgical trainees that focuses on racism and implicit bias.

More information on the lecture can be found here.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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