Mary Bassett: Why your doctor should care about social justice
Mary Bassett - New York City Health Commissioner
Mary Bassett is fighting what may be the greatest stumbling block to equitable health care in the US: institutional racism. Full bio
of Zimbabwe's national health policy.
from a long war of independence
a socialist agenda:
of rural health centers
of the population
from these facilities,
were fully immunized.
to be part of this transformation,
the camaraderie, was palpable.
with brilliant Zimbabweans --
to an African independence movement,
public health movement.
in 1985, the year I arrived.
with AIDS in the early 1980s,
at Harlem Hospital, but --
what lay in store for Africa.
two percent in my early days there.
in the prime of life
set up a clinic.
and workplace interventions.
the partners of infected men
I believed that I was doing my best.
about structural change.
has spoken candidly
of the UN peacekeeping department.
I was doing my best,
I could and should have done
the health community unprepared,
Health Organization estimates
have lost their lives to this disease,
remorse and regret
as an advocacy or a political one.
was to take care of patients
the population patterns of transmission,
the spread of the virus.
populations were at disproportionate risk
resembled feudal fiefdoms
was not a moral failure
to a culture of male superiority,
and to colonialism.
their individual behaviors,
became available in the West,
our most potent weapon
to the public sector across Africa.
to these life-saving drugs
economic and political systems
that I was a guest in the country,
could even get me kicked out,
early stance on AIDS.
of the patient-doctor relationship.
along the fissures of our society,
patterns of marginalization, exclusion,
gender, sexuality, class and more.
such as Paul Farmer,
organization of our social world,
to those with privilege and power;
suffering, illness -- is violent.
towards doing public health right,
and create real change together.
is about racial disparities
to have in this country anymore,
in the United States,
and interpersonal violence
that's death before the age of 65 --
for black men than white ones.
the risk of dying related to childbirth
of death in its first year of life
across the United States.
missing black men across the country.
between the ages of 25 and 54 years
faced by young black men,
under the banner #BlackLivesMatter.
of common medical conditions --
black lives prematurely.
to even use the word "racism"
every time I've said it.
held die-ins in their white coats,
has largely stood by passively
continues to affect
and precision medicine,
to better tailor treatment,
to lose sight of the big picture,
determines population health,
who is unable to follow medical advice
who is contemplating suicide
to feel that she is responsible
gives our voices great credibility,
when you speak out against sexism
About the speaker:Mary Bassett - New York City Health Commissioner
Mary Bassett is fighting what may be the greatest stumbling block to equitable health care in the US: institutional racism.
Why you should listen
New York City Public Health Commissioner Mary Bassett has been a health activist since her Radcliffe days of volunteering at a Black Panther Clinic. She began her career on the medical faculty at the University of Zimbabwe, a position she held for 17 years. The valuable lessons she learned in Harare, including the development of one of the first HIV awareness programs, gave her a unique perspective in tackling community health challenges for New York City’s diverse populations. She has led the charge to nudge healthier behaviors, including pushing for higher cigarette taxes and banning artificial trans fats in restaurants.
In her current role, she has called for the medical community’s deeper engagement in the #BlackLivesMatter movement and efforts to tackle institutional racism.
Mary Bassett | Speaker | TED.com