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Medical Advocacy in the Face of Discrimination

May 27, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

2021-05-12 (2)

Medical Advocacy in the Face of Discrimination

presented by Sharon Cooper, MD, FAAP

Thursday, May 27, 2021 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PT)

There is a significant impact on the body, mind, and spirit when racism is a part of a child and adolescent’s life experiences. The historical impact of systemic racism affects how families of color will parent their children, and at times intentionally overlook discriminatory treatment for fear of retaliation against their child. This realization has not been acknowledged by clinicians across the healthcare spectrum despite significant research that supports the fact that multiple systems including healthcare, education, and juvenile justice provide unequal services and consequences to minority populations. This presentation will discuss strategies that a healthcare provider can use to educate and advocate for equal treatment of their minority patients. Participants will discuss the generational and historical trauma which leads to “protective parenting” often resulting in an unwillingness to challenge discriminatory treatment of their children. There is an important role that clinicians can play in advocating for just treatment for all of their patients. Strategies will be discussed regarding being alert to discriminatory medical treatment, inadequate educational practices, and therapeutic interventions that appear to fall short of what is needed for the complexity of a child’s medical condition. The statement “When you see something, say something” is certainly fitting for the healthcare provider to become part of the solution and not part of the problem.

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Define and review examples of generational trauma based upon systemic racism and present discriminatory practices.
  • Discuss the consequences of discrimination against children of color.
  • Explain the role of advocacy and anticipatory guidance for medical professionals to promote an expectation of equality for families and from service providers.
  • Discuss steps that can be taken by healthcare providers to stand up for their parents who are fearful of retaliation by therapeutic or educational systems.

Sharon Cooper, MD, FAAP is the CEO of Developmental & Forensic Pediatrics, P.A., a consulting firm, which provides medical care to children with developmental disabilities, and provides medical care, research and training, and expert witness testimony in cases of child maltreatment. Dr. Cooper spent 21 years in the United States Army, retiring as a Colonel.

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