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Dr. Rani Whitfield to speak as part of 'Slavery to Freedom' series


Racial disparities in health care access, quality and outcomes are pervasive and persistent. One way to solve that problem is for institutions of higher learning to prioritize addressing racism through training, support and inclusion, according to Dr. Rani Whitfield.

The Louisiana-based board-certified family physician and sports medicine specialist will share his thoughts as the final speaker in the “24th Annual Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series - Slavery to Freedom An American Odyssey” at 5 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Kellogg Center.

“Institutions of higher learning, especially those responsible for educating future health care professionals, have the responsibility to address racism head on,” Whitfield added. “This can be done by diversifying clinical trials, training more physicians of color, and creating events such as this to share different perspectives to facilitate thoughtful and productive dialogue.”

Whitfield, whose talk is being co-sponsored by the College of Nursing and College of Osteopathic Medicine, plans during his visit to MSU to focus on the challenges faced by Black men as both healthcare providers and patients.

“By diversifying, health care can improve, despite its long history of racism,” he said. “Commonality between patients and their providers results in improved communication, decision-making and adherence to care plans.”

Whitfield is widely recognized for his advocacy work, serving as a national spokesperson for the American Health Association/American Stroke Association.  He has earned numerous awards, including the ASA Southeastern Affiliates Service Award, the American Stroke Association Legacy Award and the NAACP Freedom Award. 

He was a natural choice for being a part of this series, said Dr. Krista Walker, the College of Nursing’s assistant dean for college diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Dr. Whitfield, also known as the "Hip Hop Doc." demonstrates an innovative approach to engaging Black communities, particularly Black men, through music,” Walker said. “It is commendable and reflects the importance of using culturally relevant mediums to address issues related to discrimination, racism, and systemic oppression. It also allows us to prioritize Black men and gain insights into the enduring health disparities they face in accessing care and achieving educational success.”

Interested in attending? Register now.