Black Lives Matter: Antiracism and Health Suggested Resources

As the country - and the world - mourns the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the cruel killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and the long history of cruelty to Black people in the United States, it is important that we take pause to reflect and listen. As Faculty of Medicine Dean George Daley made clear in his message to the HMS community over the weekend, this violence and the disproportionate harm to the Black community from COVID-19 share a common cause: deeply ingrained (structural) racism. Learn more about Harvard Medical School’s work on this front by visiting the HMS Diversity Statement and our mission and values.

The American Medical Association statement “Police brutality must stop” recognizes that violence between law enforcement and the public is a critical determinant of health and calls for research into its public health consequences. In another statement, David Skorton, MD (AAMC president and CEO) and David Acosta, MD (AAMC chief diversity and inclusion officer) proclaim that, "racism is antithetical to the oaths and moral responsibilities we accepted as health professionals who have dedicated our lives to advancing the health of all." Speaking on behalf of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), Karen West, DMD, MPH, offered a "pledge to work ... to help achieve a society free of discrimination and full of opportunity for all." The American Public Health Association statement states strongly that “racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now!”

It is the responsibility of every one of us to educate ourselves and actively work to dismantle racism. As Countway Library Director Elaine Martin put it earlier today, "I am not Ok with this. It's OK if you are not OK with this too."

The following resources are suggested tools to help the Longwood community with this project. It is not exhaustive and tries to focus on works that address racism as a health issue. Some books may be more easily accessed through a public library, such as the Boston Public Library (information on how to sign up for a card). If there are other titles that should be part of the library collection, share them with us using Ask Countway.




  • COVID-19 Webinar Series by HMS Global Health and Social Medicine, Blavatnik Institute
    • “The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Blavatnik Institute, Harvard Medical School, held a webinar series around COVID-19 and the implications of health and social medicine both in our community and globally.”
  • 13th by Ava DuVernay
    • “Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.”
  • Deconstructing White Privilege by Robin DiAngelo
    • Includes a study guide and additional resources
  • The Problem with Race-Based Medicine (TED Talk) by Dorothy Roberts
    • "It is more urgent than ever to finally abandon this backward legacy," Roberts says, "and to affirm our common humanity by ending the social inequalities that truly divide us."


Articles & Websites

  • Resources on Health Disparities and COVID-19 by HMS Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership [link expired]
    • Ongoing, curated collection of webinars, news, funding opportunities and more related to COVID-19 and health disparities.
  • The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones | The New York Times Magazine
    • "The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery."
  • An Antiracist Reading List by Ibram X. Kendi | The New York Times
    • A broader, more academic reading list than typically presented.
  • Anti-racism Resourcesby Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
    • Direct link to a Google Doc curated in May 2020 and includes resources for all ages. May be particularly helpful for those working with children.
  • Changing How Race is Portrayed in Medical Education: Recommendations from Medical Students by Nieblas-Bedolla, Edwin MPH; Christophers, Briana; Nkinsi, Naomi T.; Schumann, Paul D.; and Stein, Elizabeth
    • An open access call to action to medical education to adopt antiracist practices, published in Academic Medicine.
  • Equal Treatment
    • A medical education non-profit that includes brief online education modules on the role of race in medicine.
  • For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies by Courtney Ariel
    • Published in the wake of Charlottesville in 2017, this remains a valuable article and is particularly relevant now in early June 2020.
  • Harvard Kennedy School Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Library
    • A collection of books, films, and other digital resources curated by the HKS Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging and Library & Knowledge Services.
  • Institute for Healing & Justice in Medicine
    • An interdisciplinary hub focused on building a world “where collective healing and justice are at the center of health and well-being.”
  • What Do Coronavirus Racial Disparities Look Like State By State? by Maria Godoy and Daniel Wood | NPR
    • One of many articles discussing the stark racial disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Who Gets to Be Afraid in America? by Ibram X. Kendi
    • A powerful essay from Dr. Kendi in the wake of Ahmaud Arbery's unjust death.