- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2016

Activist medical students with a growing national network are framing racism as a “public health crisis.”

White Coats 4 Black Lives, which launched its official Facebook page in January 2015, has grown to 43 chapters across the nation. The group, which aims to “eliminate racial bias in the practice of medicine and racism as a threat to the health and well-being of people of color,” includes future doctors from Harvard and Yale.

“On numerous occasions, the White Coats for Black Lives website declares racism to be a ‘national health crisis’ or ‘issue,’ in one instance calling it ‘one of the major health problems in the United States’ and declaring that it must be addressed by promoting med ‘students’ involvement in local and national movements to end racism and police brutality,” the education watchdog Campus Reform first reported Monday.

Over 2,200 medical students currently receive updates from the group’s Facebook page, such as a Dec. 5, 2015, “Die In” protest related to Laquan McDonald. The 17-year-old from Chicago was shot 16 times by police in October 2014 after slashing car tires while high on the hallucinogenic drug PCP.

Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy was fired after video of the killing by Officer Jason Van Dyke sparked protests. Officer Van Dyke, 38, has been suspended without pay or benefits and charged with first-degree murder.

Other issues of concern for the group include electoral politics. In response to the Nov. 8 presidential election, the group said its members were “angry, upset and afraid.”

“The racism, misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia and homophobia that catapulted Donald Trump to the White House have pervaded our country and our health care system for hundreds of years,” White Coats 4 Black Lives said in a statement Nov. 11.” It is more important now than ever that we affirm our commitment to Black lives, to Indigenous lives, to Muslim lives, to queer lives, to immigrant lives.”

Some of the group’s chapters hail from the Yale School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, and the Howard University College of Medicine.

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