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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Feb 11, 2022

When Damon Tweedy began medical school, he envisioned a bright future where his segregated, working-class background would become largely irrelevant. Instead, he found that he had joined a new world where race was front and center. The recipient of a scholarship designed to increase black student enrollment, Tweedy soon met a professor who bluntly questioned whether he belonged in medical school, a moment that crystallized the challenges he would face throughout his career. Making matters worse, in lecture after lecture, the common refrain for numerous diseases repeated as “More common in blacks than in whites.”

Tweedy’s book, Black Man in a White Coat, examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of many health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common amongst black people. In this powerful, moving, and deeply empathic book, Tweedy explores the challenges confronting black doctors, and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care.

Originally published in September of 2015.

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