Reading Matters

‘Black Man in a White Coat’

“In virtually every field of medicine, black patients as a group fare the worst,” wrote Damon Tweedy, a black psychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham. “This was one of my first and most painful lessons as a medical student nearly 20 years ago.”

His commentary appeared last spring in the New York Times, and this week, his memoir, “Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine,” is out from Picador ($26).

The son of a grocery store meat cutter, Tweedy attended Duke on a full scholarship, where he faced prejudice rom some white patients and medical school professors (one, not understanding he was a student, asked him to fix the lights in the lecture hall). He was also often mistaken for a Duke basketball player.

Publishers Weekly says: “Tweedy nicely unravels the essential issues of race, prejudice, class, mortality, treatment and American medicine without blinking or polite excuses.” And Library Journal calls “Black Man” a “must-read for anyone interested in improving medical care from training to delivery in a world where race persists as a factor in life and death.”

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