Equity is Medicine with Uché Blackstock | Crooked Media
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February 13, 2024
Pod Save The People
Equity is Medicine with Uché Blackstock

In This Episode

Measles make a comeback, Black pastors pressure Biden for cease-fire, and none of these candidates please! Pod Save The People is back with the Blackest Book Club reading list in collaboration with Reconstruction and Campaign Zero. DeRay interviews Dr. Uché Blackstock about her new book Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine.

 

News

Measles making a comeback in US due to vaccine skepticism, says CDC

Black Pastors Pressure Biden to Call for a Cease-Fire in Gaza

Haley’s loss to “none of these candidates” in Nevada primary was coordinated effort

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this DeRay and welcome to Pod Save the People. On this episode it’s me, De’Ara and Kaya talking about some of the news that you don’t know. Talking about the election and then talking about our next book pick from the Blackest Book Club. And then I sit down and actually get to talk to the author of the book that I talk about this week, Dr. Uché Blackstock. Her new book, Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine. New York Times bestseller. It is stellar, stellar, stellar. Please get it. So good. I learned a ton. Let’s go. [music break]

 

De’Ara Balenger: Family. Welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People. I am De’Ara Balenger. You can find me on Instagram at @dearabalenger.

 

Kaya Henderson: I’m Kaya Henderson, you can find me on Twitter at @HendersonKaya.

 

DeRay Mckesson: And this is DeRay @deray on Twitter. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: So we haven’t been together since the Grammys happened, so we thought we’d do our own Pod Save the People style Grammys recap. I’m going to start with Tracy Chapman because as a Black queer women on this podcast, obviously that’s what was sending me. [laughter] How incredible was that perform– I actually thought some of the performances. Um. Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, I just thought Stevie Wonder, I thought, those were all so thoughtful and beautiful and intentional. There’s some other stuff you know, as I’m getting into my 40’s now, I can take it or leave it. Um. But I found those performances to be so, so wonderful. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: [laugh] De’Ara. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Um. Yeah. I just feel like there was a lot that happened. There was a lot around, you know, Jay-Z getting this honor, but then obviously, you know sort of going into how it doesn’t makes sense why Beyonce hasn’t won album of the year. Um. There was Taylor Swift snatching her Grammy out of Celine Dion’s hands. I don’t you know. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Okay. Wait, wait. You got to give us a chance to talk about these things. You can’t just list all the things, and then we don’t talk about them. So can we rewind it? Can we–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Woo woo that’s what I’m this. In that, in that–

 

Kaya Henderson: Can we rewind it? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Yeah. In that order. Let’s go for it.

 

Kaya Henderson: So Tracy Chapman. First of all, um big up to Luke Combs for creating a moment for her. Um. She stood on that stage, and not only did she sing that song, but there were, like, tears in her eyes because the people had such a tremendous response for her. And to see an artist get their flowers in real life. You know, we haven’t seen Tracy in God knows how many years. I don’t know what she been doing or whatever. Whoever is doing her skincare routine should um– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That part. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Get out here with a line because–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Well, you know what somebody said, I saw– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Woo honey. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I saw a meme that was like, when you don’t when you don’t fool with men. This is how good your skin looks.[laughter]

 

Kaya Henderson: [laugh] Oh. Well there’s that, um it was just it it actually, like, it made me, like, tingly to see her so emotionally moved by this. And to see Luke just kind of move over and let her do her thing was, I thought very, I thought it was really nice. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: It was so cool to see her face when, you know, because if you watched it, it was like her face was sort of in the shadow. And then so people knew he was singing and people knew somebody was at the other mic. And then when the light hits her face and then people start yelling again and you can see her smile like Kaya was talking about. That was actually really cool. Um. You know, after the performance, it was something like the streams were up 800%. It became the number one song and number one music video on the iTunes charts, and, Tracy Chapman’s debut album took the number one spot for albums. And remember 35 years ago, she won the Best New Artist at the 1989 Grammys and performed the song then. And when Luke covered it, um his perf– his cover was so good that she won, um she was the first Black songwriter to win at the Country Music Awards for songwriting, because the song sort of resurfaced and his cover was number two on the Billboard Hot 100. So it was cool to see them all together. And she just looks so happy. You’re like, come on Tracy. You just look happy, you know? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Joy. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And Jay-Z said, when I get nervous, I tell the truth. And he said, the truth is, some of y’all don’t belong in the categories. And that actually might be true. So I was I was with him on that. And I you know, it’s like Beyonce has it is shocking to me that she has never won an album of the year. Also shocking that Katy Perry has no Grammys, I that just I’m just throwing that in there. Just as a like, what is the Grammys doing to people? 

 

Kaya Henderson: DeRay’s friends, DeRay’s on his friend campaign. [laughter] 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Just putting it out there. Ride for talent.

 

Kaya Henderson: Okay so here’s, here’s what I will say. Um. Like, I have mixed feelings about the whole Jay-Z thing, right? On the one hand, like, I love that he stood up for his wife and he used his moment to you know, I don’t know, whatever. Um. And he took his daughter with him. And so that is a very nice, like, protect and defend sort of thing for your family. Lovely. Um. I, I feel like, okay, one, I mean, maybe she should have won a best album. Maybe she shouldn’t. Who knows? But stop begging. I feel like all we keep like we’re like Beyonce never won, Beyonce never won, Beyonce… at some point later for the Grammys, let the. Girl go look, you just you just did a tour that broke the economy, right? Who cares if you got, you got more Grammys than anybody else. At some point. Like, I want us to stop being thirsty for other people’s validation. Beyonce is unprecedented. Just keep it moving, honey. Don’t or don’t go to the Grammys. If this if you really are not messing with them like that. I it just made me so. I don’t know, it felt like, creepy to me that he’s like, my wife has never won best [?] best album. Child. Okay. I mean, maybe sure, I guess, I don’t know, I just I want us to be like, thanks. Call me again when you recognize the real goat and keep it moving or, I don’t know, something. This was too much for me. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Here’s what it is for me Kaya. Beyonce puts out this culture shifting music every time. She does these concerts where, you know, we’ve seen she just eats fruits and berries all day long. Then she got to dance on the stage, you know, shaking and gyrating. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Not fruits and berries. [laughing]

 

De’Ara Balenger: And Taylor Swift. And you know, no disrespect to Taylor Swift. And I actually, you know, have respect for her and her artistry. And she is she’s an incredible talent, incredibly talented person. But she can stand up there and sing. Just stand. She don’t got to have costumes and changes and this and that. And I think so I think it’s for me, I look at like the labor a Black woman puts into her craft. And time and time again that you do all that and still someone who can who does far less gets the award. I think that’s my own weird warped problem with it, but I to your point though, I don’t but it also doesn’t make sense that we’re waiting for these white institutions to like, give us our flowers. That doesn’t make sense either.

 

Kaya Henderson: You know you know what it is? You know what it is. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yup. 

 

Kaya Henderson: You know what it is going to be. Have you all lived in America for a little while? Like [laughing] why is anybody surprised? And there’s a whole bunch of other people who I know you know, I’ve seen it all on social media. Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and Prince and I don’t know whoever, all these other people who have not won best album. And so, you know, should she? Maybe probably. Um. And you’re right De’Ara. She gets out there and she works. But, I my, the way I feel about Beyonce is, she ain’t working for them Grammys. She working for me and you child. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s right, that’s right.

 

Kaya Henderson: She is working for the people. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Amen. 

 

Kaya Henderson: And I’ll take it. I’ll take it. Now, can I tell you who did get up there and shake her booty costume and all and did the thing, was Fantasia’s little–

 

De’Ara Balenger: [gasp] Fantasia! 

 

Kaya Henderson: –tribute to Tina Turner baby. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: How can I forget about Fantasia? I was standing up crying. Okay. [laughter] And I’m gonna tell you this, Fantasia’s going to be at Jazz fest this year, and so I can not, I might I might get my seat the night before and just sit and just sleep. Make sure I don’t miss a piece of it. She’s incredible. Absolutely incredible. 

 

Kaya Henderson: The best thing too about, uh that is that remember that was her original audition song. So it was like– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh, is that right? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh come on. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ah. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: She said, I’m a introd– some of y’all–

 

Kaya Henderson: Nice. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –don’t know me, but I’m gonna introduce myself. I said, I know that’s right Fantasia. All right, so moving from Grammys to measles. Uh DeRay, you want to share something with the people? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Y’all, it blew my mind. Measles is making a comeback, you know. Measles has been eradicated in the US since the year 2000. A vaccine can prevent it from, prevent you from getting it, but it’s spreading in the northeast. So as of uh January of 2024, measles cases have been found in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and D.C.. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Wow. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: The anti-vaxxers are really setting us up. I am floored that we had legitimately eradicated it. It was gone. Gone. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: And what, and DeRay–

 

DeRay Mckesson: The vaccine has [?]–

 

De’Ara Balenger: What happens with measles? Like you, you die? No? What happens with measles?

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. You can die from measles. Um. It’s one of the most transmissible diseases that we know of, which is sort of wild, especially dangerous for infants and young children. Um. And once it’s contracted, the disease must run its course because there’s no treatment. So if your body, if your immune system is not strong, um you really can be screwed with cases of measles. Um. So you have to isolate. It’s sort of like, you know when you have to isolate and get swabbed and all that other stuff, but we haven’t had to deal with it because, you know, it got eradicated. And I, the symptoms are like fatigue, runny nose, coughing, fever, stuff like that. But it can lead to death. And the vaccine is 93% effective. We eradicated it. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Wow. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And the anti-vaxxers are really not it. So I don’t know why that was on my heart this morning, but I saw it and I was like, come on. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: You know what it reminds me of too DeRay, and I should we should offline about this. But Catherine Flowers, who I adore and am so inspired by. So Catherine Flowers is an environmentalist who works primarily in Lowndes County, Alabama. I’ve talked about Catherine before. Um. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh yeah. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: But Catherine, you know, her whole thing is Black folks living in waste in rural, rural South because they can’t afford, you know, to keep their septic system maintenanced, etc., etc.. But Catherine said, because so many folks um are living in waste that now tropical diseases that we didn’t have for 100 years are now back in the United States. So that’s another thing we should probably try to dig into. And I can connect with Catherine to see like what what is happening there. And that’s what that literally is what her work is about, trying to make sure that environmental inequity isn’t isn’t continuing to happen throughout the South in particular. But that’s what there sends me too. Like there there are other places, too, where we are moving backwards, not necessarily because of people’s bad behavior, but because of systemic oppression. 

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Stay tuned, there’s more to come. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

De’Ara Balenger: All right. Ding ding ding ding ding. [laugh]Quick pod election coverage as we move closer. As the spring and summer come. And then the fall will be upon us. Um. So the– 

 

Kaya Henderson: What did you have for breakfast today, girl? [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: We. So. Thankfully. Well, not thankfully. We knew they were going to do well. So Biden and Kamala obviously won uh won Nevada. Now there was a there’s another candidate that actually had some trouble in Nevada. Um. Her name is Nikki Haley. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I thought it was a joke. Thought it was a joke. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Whew child.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Her name is Nikki Haley. And she didn’t do well. What happened DeRay, with Nikki Haley? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: She lost to none of these candidates. And I thought that none of these candidates was a joke that somebody had put on Twitter as like a way to like, I don’t know, poke fun at her, but literally people could choose, and I quote, “none of these candidates,” and none of these candidates beat her. That is I mean they it beat everybody. But that was both scary because the Trump people are really unhinged. But I didn’t even know. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Well. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I would love for more ballots to say none of these candidates, because that’s how I feel a lot. 

 

Kaya Henderson: For sure. But I, so when I first heard it, I was like, damn, damn, the people want nobody instead of you Nik? And then [laugh] because that that is like, that’s something else. Um. But then what I read when I read further, the Trump people basically orchestrated all of their supporters to vote none of these candidates in order to vote in the next primary. So this primary was of no consequence. It didn’t um it didn’t grant any delegates and whatnot. And it was very clear, apparently, that Trump would have was going to take the whole entire primary when all of the delegates. And so Nikki Haley didn’t concentrate any efforts in, in Nevada. And the Trump people coordinated the effort to get and because they literally did not want her to have a win anywhere and one, I think it just goes to like, you know, this is a don’t hate the player, hate the game kind of thing. Like they coordinated and they handed her a rounding defeat, which I think is hilarious. Um. It also, it also made me think like, dang Nikki, if I’m in Nevada and I’m thinking about voting for you, like you’re like, yeah, it wasn’t worth it. Uh. So I don’t know what message that sends to Nevadans. Um. But, mmm I’m with you, DeRay. If none of these candidates was on the ballot, none of these candidates might win many more elections. [laughing]

 

DeRay Mckesson: None of these, whoever even thought to put that as a phrase. Winner.

 

De’Ara Balenger: And I think the other thing um, that I want us to track and then I’ve been reading a great deal around, too, is just um the impact of [deep sigh] Oh. Um. The impact of Israel and Gaza on Arab Americans and in the Uni–, you know, here at home and just all of the organizing that’s being done now to stop this war. I don’t know. See Muslims and Palestinians as human beings. I don’t know. Name name name the thing. But evidently there was a meeting that was supposed to happen with Kamala Harris. And this week, um that’s has been postponed. There’s just a lot of the a lot of what I saw in the last few days with the news cycle. A lot of it was um how how this administration is going to engage with um the Muslim and the Arab American community. So I haven’t seen anything that is a is a next step from either side necessarily. But I think the fact the fact that it is making national news and regularly in the news cycle, I think, is a good thing. Um. Particularly when you think about places, you know, where they are a huge constituency like Michigan, for example. So it’s it will be interesting to see how the how both the administration and the campaign engage with these communities. Um. I don’t think that engagement up to this far has been successful. Which makes sense. But, um I think I think it’s the first time that I’m seeing in all the years that I’ve done politics and and worked on presidential campaigns, and I’m seeing this community have this type of um this type of, this type of visibility, quite frankly. So I’m super interested and excited, actually, to see what comes from the fact that they have been getting political coverage. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Well, it’s not just the Muslims and Arabs. It is also young people. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s right. That’s right Kaya. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Who are not and and young people are critical to– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s right. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Um. To this election cycle. And young people are deeply, deeply dismayed at how the administration is handling um the situation in the Middle East. And I don’t know if you saw there was an article in um, I don’t know, I can’t remember if it was the Times or the Post last week or so saying a thousand Black pastors. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Yes. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Have gotten together and written a letter or have been lobbying, have met with the White House to push the administration to push for a ceasefire. Now they’re also calling for the release of hostages and for, you know, the the end of the occupation of of the West Bank and a bunch of other things. But they have sort of raised their hand because their parishioners are morally outraged at the um at what’s happening to Palestinians. And so these pastors have gotten together on behalf of their congregants to say this is a problem. And, you know, young people, Black people, Black people are the most stalwart group that the Dems have. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s correct. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Right? Muslims and Arabs, like, there are all of these groups that are going to have to figure out what this means to them on Election Day. And, uh that’s not that’s not good. [laughing] It’s not good. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: It’s also like, who are y’all listening to? Because this is one of those things where like, it’s not the fri– it’s not the fringe saying, hey, this doesn’t make sense. It is people who have never checked into global politics in their life who are like, okay, you can’t wipe the country off the face of the earth like that is. And and I don’t know, you know, I will, I continue to say like, I don’t know Karine personally. But I lost all respect for her when I saw her– 

 

Kaya Henderson: We know, we know because it’s about the fifth time– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: You done talked about it. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –that you have raised this.

 

DeRay Mckesson: I if I’m still [?] she stood up there and said those things about the, I would rather her just be like no comment, because then I could just be like, well, she ain’t saying nothing. But her sort of make it like gaslighting us to be like–

 

Kaya Henderson: For for people for people who have not heard this before, why don’t you tell the people what Karine said. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Let me go look up the exact quotes, because I want people to be able to get the facts. Because they were crazy. I’m shocked at the administration on this, actually. De’Ara, they need you, go back in there. Go help those folks.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Oh, Lord. Lord, Lord mmm mm mm. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Who’s the who’s the um the secretary of state, I don’t know none of the people no more. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Blinken. You know what though, Hillary did and I shoot I need to go back and watch it. I think we all maybe should. But Hillary just did an interview, a long interview with Alex Wagner, and I’m very curious to see both what what H said, but also how she whether or not she toed the line for the administration. So I want to go back in and encourage everybody else to go back and uh check that out. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ooh. Wow. There’s a that’s an accusation. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: No, it’s not an accusation. I just want to she I mean, I’m sure she did it, you know, thoughtfully, but a way of, you know, she’s not going to not have her voice in it, but I think she’s somebo– she’s someone that that I go to and not that she’s been right on everything. But when it comes to like, understanding from a policy perspective, um and for someone who actually, like, has worked in these regions and, I don’t know, reads books, I think it’s helpful, um to get to get a perspective that is that can be instructive. Um. So I don’t it’s a note for myself, but I’m going to go go back and listen to that, that interview. And then cry afterwards. [laughter] Okay. Should we transition into Blackest Book club y’all? We still Black? 

 

Kaya Henderson: The Blackest Book Club. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: We still reading books? Encourage another– 

 

Kaya Henderson: We still Black. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –to read books. By the Black peoples for the Black peoples. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: The question for this week is what book in the last year has sparked your spirit? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Oh, what book in the last year has sparked your spirit? Well, I’m happy to go first if that helps. This year has been a particularly tough year for me. Um. I don’t know if I’ve shared it with with our audience, but I lost my dad in September. Maybe I have. And so I think the world was already a challenging place to me. But I think leaving losing my center made it even more challenging. And so one of the human beings that I have leaned on, and I am so blessed that this human being is also a thinker, a writer, a poet, and a lover. Cleo Wade wrote a book called Remember Love, and and the book really is to help you through challenging times, right? It’s it’s. I’ve I’ve been reading it sort of going back to it. Both it helped me with my grief, but also just to remember that I am a human being, that is present and needs to be distinct and needs to be cared for. Before I go out into this world and have to deal with all the things and have all the things come at me. Um. And so I think it’s something that I encourage all of you to read because it is so, it just it just takes you back to you. And um, one of my favorite lines in it um, is I’m not a busybody. I’m a body. Because I think sometimes I be a busybody. [laugh] So. So it is and there’s so many beautiful poems and anecdotes and Cleo’s own story is in the book that really helped to just center you and be meditative in a way around things that you’re going through and how to process things that you’re going through. Um. Difficulties with family, difficulties with friendship, difficulties with understanding. You know, why the world seems like such a dark place. Um. And so, yeah, I encourage all of you to read it and and get it because it’s about remembering love, the love for yourself, the love for community. Um. It just to give you a little bit of a breath um in a sanctuary given the world that we’re living in. So that’s mine. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Um. I’ll go next. So. And I I just. You um I can’t even believe that I forgot this, but um, I’ll tell you what I remembered in a minute. Um. So the book that has sparked my spirit in the last year is called Black Futures. And the thing that I forgot is that our own De’Ara Balenger is one of the contributors to this amazing book. Um. So De’Ara, I’m gonna let you tell the people about your part in a in a minute. But um, here’s what I love about this book. And it’s so interesting because Myles picked, who’s not with us today, picked this as the book that sparked his spirit. Um. But I love this book. So it is a series of essays and photos and poems and artist statements and dreams and, all kinds of things. Um. It’s an anthology where a zillion different people have contributed to this. Um. And it is all about Blackness. It’s about joy and justice and power and love and and Afrofuturism and all of this. And, you know, I love being Black, I really do, and I love seeing us in all of our different dimensions. I love being able to pick up this book at any point and just literally like you don’t even you don’t read it in order. You just pick something and you open it up, you see a thing and you’re like, that sounds interesting. And it takes you about five minutes to read it. And there’s something inspirational, there’s something joyful, there’s something resilient, there’s something futuristic that you had not been thinking about that just puts a pep in your Blackest step. [laughter] And so I love this book. I do! 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Yes!

 

Kaya Henderson: I really do. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Pep in your Black step.

 

Kaya Henderson: I I love this book. It does um, I think, if you don’t have it, go get it. Um. It’s by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham. And um these sisters the on the back it says it’s an archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony. A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present, an infinite geography of possible futures. I just love it. Um. And so get Black, get Black Futures, if you want a little spark in your life. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: A little pep in your Black step.

 

Kaya Henderson: De’Ara. Yes, De’Ara tell us about your piece. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: It was, of course, about the Black political future. And I talked a lot about um, it’s it’s when it’s it’s when Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum were running for for governor. So it was about those, those struggles, but also sort of just a testimony why we need more Black political leaders and why we need to be cultivating and supporting more Black political leaders. And so I think even as we, you know, fast forward, I mean, I think I wrote that in like 2000 and like 17 or 18 or something like that. Um. You know, are we? Where are where are we with Black political leadership and what does that look like? Um. And, you know, I am. I just. I think Stacey Abrams is such an incredible human being, candidate and just so brilliant in so many ways. And so I think my disorientation around the fact that Hillary Clinton didn’t become president and Stacey Abrams didn’t become governor of Georgia, um obviously I understand the realities of that. But just from a very humanist perspective, it just still blows my mind. So my piece is really just about, um the fact that we have these incredible individuals, um and how we need, we need to lift them up and also you know, cultivate cultivate and nurture, nurture more so. I don’t know. Y’all I need to get myself back into politics because this is getting dark. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Um. Somebody told me that they would run your campaign if you got back into politics. [laughter] I know somebody. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: [?] 

 

Kaya Henderson: I know a guy. I know a guy. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I’m doing [?] and all the campaign. [laughter] So my book is an author that we interviewed on the pod, but I cannot love it enough. Uché Blackstock, Dr. Uché Blackstock made the New York Times bestseller list with her book Legacy. And the thing that it sparked in my spirit was like I, you know, so many times we think about these problems as, like, insurmountable or they feel bigger than people. I mean, it’s what made me an organizer because I’m like, community is bigger than our biggest problems. I believe that. And then I read this book and the thing that stuck with me that I will just never forget, is how there used to be seven-ish medical schools for Black people. And a report came out that compared every medical school to Johns Hopkins a long time ago, a standard that was impossible for the vast majority of schools to meet. Not because of academic excellence, but because of resources. Not that the other schools were actually doing anything wrong or not teaching people well, but they purposefully made Johns Hopkins in my hometown of Baltimore the bar, and used that as a justification to close five of the seven medical schools. And she writes about what a Black future would have looked like if we were producing Black doctors at the rate that we could have if the only two medical schools left weren’t Howard and Meharry. And you know, I knew that there were not a lot of Black medical schools, but I was like, oh, they must not have had the money and da like, I don’t know, I was like, it was. I was sort of rationalizing. And I’m like, no. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Yeah. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: There were seven of them. We were pumping Black doctors out. And you’ve already seen the stats on, you know, Black doctors serve Black community and da da. We were pumping them out and there was a coordinated effort to close the schools. That is just I’ll never forget that. And when people say it always comes back to race, I think it was called the Fletcher [note: Flexner] Report. When people say everything comes back to race y’all, they ain’t lying. But this like, really just let [?] I mean I, in my work every day I see crazy stuff. But this was one where I was like, oh, we, you know, when people talk about reconstruction and and all the stuff, it’s like we actually had a blueprint for doing this right by Black people. We did, and people worked intentionally to undo it. And y’all get that book. 

 

Kaya Henderson: She did a piece in The Washington Post, an opinion piece. And, um and what was striking to me about that, of course, all of the statistics around health care, health care and racial disparities and stuff. But she also talked about her mom. Her mom was a doctor in Brooklyn at Kings County Hospital, and how she and her twin sister grew up watching this woman, like, take holistic care of her patients, providing a level of quality and care for Black people that, you know, is not something that we are accustomed to. And, you know, representation matters. Seeing Black doctors, it’s not just about having Black doctors so that they provide us with a different level of care. But, you know, our children have to see it in order to be it. And I was just so struck by how. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: [?] That’s right. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Her, I you know, and her mama was a Black mama hustling like everybody else, right? Raising kids, working, studying, doing all the things, keeping the family together and all of that stuff. Um. And it reminded me of how amazing Black women are and how our children need to see this um. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm. 

 

Kaya Henderson: To know, to to be great. Um. And so I’m excited about the interview that you did, DeRay. Um. And excited to hear more from her. She’s a fresh voice. I think she’s using her powers in really interesting ways. Um.

 

De’Ara Balenger: [?]. 

 

Kaya Henderson: And–

 

De’Ara Balenger: I’m now obsessed. And she was on–

 

Kaya Henderson: –come on Dr. Uché. Keep on bringing it. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –Pao covered for [?] last night on MSNBC, and she was on. And I was like, did you make her our friend Pao? [laugh] I know, I know. I’m just [?]–

 

DeRay Mckesson: Because she lives in New York. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Incredible. Thank you for your work. Honestly. Really thank you for your work Dr. Uché.

 

Kaya Henderson: So again, I already told you all this is my favorite time of the year. Blackest Book Club. Thank you again for for these inspiring books, my like to read pile is just getting taller and taller. Um. And we’ll be back next week where we will be discussing Black authors that we would love to interview on the podcast, um and the books that we’d like to discuss. So um, make sure that you listen to the podcast, make sure that you read the books, make sure that you support Black authors. Um. And tune in next week for the next edition of The Blackest Book Club. 

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Don’t go anywhere more Pod Save the People is coming. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: We welcome physician thought leader Dr. Uché Blackstock to talk about her new book, Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine. Recently, we covered a story on Black Americans screened out of clinical trials for a new Alzheimer’s drug. And now we talk to an expert. There are so many things with regard to race and medicine that we’ve talked about on the podcast, but she brings more context to the progress made. The work that lies ahead, and her own personal story and journey. I learned a ton in this interview, stuff that still sticks with me. This was my book of the week. Here we go. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Dr. Blackstock, it is an honor to have you on the podcast today. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Thank you so much for having me. I am such a fan of you and the podcast, and I’m ready to have some some interesting conversation with you. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: So, you know, I have a lot of questions. And now, let me tell you, you did not write a history book, but I learned so much about stuff that I just didn’t even I didn’t know. Um. So I’m going to get to that. But let’s start with your mom. In so many ways, the book is a love letter to your mother, uh and your father, too. You know, he’s he’s in the book. Um. But I learned so much about your mom and um, and her life and what it meant to you and how it inspired you to be a doctor. And also, you know how the health care system could have treated her better. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Can you talk about um, why you shaped the book’s narrative around your mother? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Well, one, I know you want to make me cry. So um so no but really, this this book is really to one give my mother a voice because I felt like in the life that she led as a little Black girl from impoverished Brooklyn, born to a single mom. She had five siblings. They were raised on public assistance. No one really thought that she’d be able to do all the things that she did. No one thought that she’d be the first in her family to go to college and then go on to medical school, and Harvard Med at that. Um. You know, so all of there were so many barriers, poverty, racism, um in her way. But she was just a very determined little girl with a lot of work ethic and a lot of luck, as well as we as we also know. And she cared very, very deeply a lot about a lot of the issues that we are still seeing today. You know, in, in, you know, 2023, 2024, a lot of the same issues actually are even worse in terms of health equity. Racial health inequities are worse now than they were when she was growing up and when she was in training. So that’s why I thought it was just so important. And it just also she’s a huge influence on me. I we call her the original Doctor Blackstock because my twin sister and I became physicians because of her. I thought growing up that all physicians were Black women. Because that’s all I was exposed to growing up. My mother would take us to local Black Brooklyn physician meetings, and I would see other Black doctors who were in the community, like, deeply embedded, doing the work, connecting with patients, diabetes screenings, high blood pressure screenings, making sure people were able to take care of themselves or had the resources to do so, connecting them. So that that’s that’s the environment that I grew up in. So I wanted people to understand that my mother, while she was unique, there were many other people like her that cared very deeply about the people in our community because we were, we were, and we are worthy. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Boom. Now I gotta get my highlights all together in the book so I can know where to start. But, uh let’s start with the Flexner Report. Had never heard of it. Didn’t, it it like shed so much light on. I was like, oh, I get how we here today. But can you can you help us understand why that was an important report to include in the story you’re telling? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. I thought the Flexner Report was so important to include, because what I realized is I was never taught about the Flexner Report in medical school or in my training. I learned about it as a practicing physician. So here I am trying to figure out why Black folks were only 5% of all physicians as if like, there’s internalizing that, as if there’s something wrong with us. But of course, like everything else, it’s the system working as designed. And that 1910 Flexner Report was the report that essentially was commissioned by the American Medical Association, the largest and whitest and oldest organization of white physicians, and Carnegie Mellon University, to basically assess the standards of all 155 U.S. medical schools and Canadian medical schools. They held all those schools against the standard of Johns Hopkins Medical School. But by doing so, you know, they penalized historically Black colleges and universities and those medical schools associated with them. As a result of that, that report, five out of seven of the Black medical schools were forced to close around the turn of the century. There’s a report that came out a few years ago that said that if those medical schools had been able to remain open, they would have trained between 25 and 35,000 physicians. And we know those are probably most likely Black physicians. But if you can imagine the impact that those physicians would have had in our communities, it would have been exponential. One, because we also are more likely to go back to our communities and work in our communities. You know, of course, there are some probably Black physicians out there that are just like, I want to just, you know, make that money. But so many of us are there because of what we saw was not right in our communities, and we actually wanted to be of service in some way. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah I you know, and, you know, in the, you know, in the book Howard and Meharry. How do you say it, is it Ma-hary or Meharry?

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah. Meharry.

 

DeRay Mckesson: Meharry, those are the only two Black Medical schools that I had ever heard of. Like, literally, I just didn’t even know that there were any that existed before those two. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: I know. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And when I read this in the book, I’m like, you know what? When we say it always comes back to race, it we nobody’s being dramatic. If anything, we’re underselling that point. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Listen, we are we’re absolutely underselling it because I assure you, probably 99% of all physicians. Black, white, or whatever their racial demographic is, they don’t know about that background. The medical schools don’t know about that background. The patients coming to seek their care don’t get to know about that background. And I think even as regular Black folks, we need to know that history because we need to know what we’re up against. We need to know that when that Scotus decision came out a few months ago on race conscious um admissions in higher education, that that’s going to impact the number of Black health professionals we see generations to come. Right. Because that’s what this Flexner Report did, too. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Now um, I want to talk about gynecology, which you also talk about in the book. But before we get there, you know, one of the things that was really interesting about your father’s story and as you know, my work is about the police and prisons and jails, is that there was an instance of police violence that radicalized him. And, you know, the police, on average kill three people a day. Um. And sometimes I forget how close the trauma of policing is to so many people’s stories. And when I read it in your father’s story and the whole moment about his pan-Africanism and y’all names. And I’m like, I love Black people. Um. Yeah, I was I wanted to talk to you about it. Did he ever talk to y’all about that part of his life and the police violence and the and the protests? And– 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah, I think for him and, you know, and I write about this this idea of being Black is very different in the United States versus growing up in a Black country. So it wasn’t until coming to the US at 17 and witnessing, witnessing, you know, racism, interpersonal, structural racism with his own eyes that he actually felt moved to do something or just to be impacted by racism. And so, yeah, he talks about, you know, that the, the, you know, young person, a teenager who was killed by police and then there were riots in New York City as a result of that really being a catalyzing moment from him in thinking about his own Black identity. And as you alluded to that kind of like [laugh] had a domino effect in terms of his engagement with The East, which is a you know a Pan-African organization that was based in Brooklyn in the ’60s and ’70s, but with also how he named Oni and me and making sure that we were very, very connected as much as we could to our African ancestry, and that we had a very strong sense of who we were as Black people in this country. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Boom. And talk about your learning about the history of gynecology.

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. But can I also just say some one thing, that–

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: There was something else I I had written about in terms of policing, and I didn’t go into it as much. And of course, when you write a book, you always have regrets. But this idea that in our communities where there is increased policing and increased interactions, also known as police brutality, with residents that residents actually fear seeking medical attention. They develop a distrust of medical institutions. And so there are a tremendous amount of unmet needs in our community because of that. And that also has a domino effect. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah yeah it all it you the the book reminded me, I’m like when we say it’s all about race, people think we’re being dramatic. And I’m like, if anything, we the drama is not high enough. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: I know, and that’s why for this book, I want it to be affirming for Black folks reading it and educational in its own way. And for everyone else. I want them to be like, whoa, okay, what do I need to do? Um. But in terms of you’re asking about the history of gynecology and the really depraved, depraved and horrific history of gynecology in this country. And how it was essentially discovered and founded on the bodies of enslaved Black women. You know, it’s, again, a history that we didn’t really know about widely or publicly up until like maybe 2017, 2018. So J. Marion Sims was, you know, he’s called the father of modern gynecology. He’s the person who developed what’s called the speculum. That’s you basically use that almost every gynecology appointment today. It’s usually plastic or metal. Um. But he also made other discoveries again, horrific discoveries, um on the bodies of enslaved Black women, you know, performing these horrific surgeries that were used to find um essentially a cure for what’s called a vesiclevaginal fistula. It’s basically what happens during childbirth. Essentially connections are formed between the the bladder and the vagina so that after giving childbirth, people end up urinating out of their vagina. So it’s actually very humiliating for people. And, you know, they were trying to find a way of curing this because there was a financial incentive, obviously, because you wanted these enslaved Black women to continue birthing these babies because they had, you know, monetary worth. And they wanted to do it for white women because they wanted to make sure that, you know, they could lead a decent life. But that history, um is a history that we were never taught, and hasn’t really been out there until a few years ago. There was a statue of J. Marion Sims across from the New York Academy of Medicine for decades. Um. That was taken down, um thanks to the um advocacy of uh Harriet Washington and other uh Black authors. But again, we need to know that history if we are going to address what’s happening today in terms of racial health inequities, in terms of the Black maternal health crisis. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Now, this is the last history question I’ll ask, because these are all the things that blew my mind was the um and I forgot his name and I can find it, but, you know it. Is the the guy who said that we have less lung capacity. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Samuel Cartwright. And but also thinking about how that became so ingrained in medicine, essentially saying that we are biologically different from white people. And as a result, we have different um capacity for holding air in our lung, different lung capacity. But as a result of that or, or kind of even suggesting that we are like superhuman. But as a result of that, it became um normalized within medicine to have different standards of what is considered normal for Black patients’ lung capacity and white patients. And that still exists in hospitals today. It’s called a race correction factor. It’s the same for kidney function. Kidney function also, um it’s often um underestimated in Black patients. And because of that we we often will get passed over for kidney transplants or we won’t get um kidney uh care specialty kidney care done or initiated earlier. So we end up dying. So again, this idea that we are biologically different, I think also when you talk about Anarcha, Betsey, those women that were operated on by um J. Marion Sims, he was able to do that because of dehumanization, of this idea of not seeing Black people as actual human beings. And so we we see that now. And, you know, obviously, we still see that now in how we’re treated in our communities, but dehumanization is deeply rooted historically in the practice of medicine in this country. And that’s why today there’s so many of us, even me as a Black physician, I can go to the doctor and feel like I’m being ignored and being dismissed. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And you write about that in the book, your own experiences um being a medical professional and still having people question you when you go to the doctors, I you know, the E.R. medicine is so interesting to me because I’m one of those people who, like, only really know it [?] because I watched the TV shows. So Gray’s and E.R. and all those shows. Um. What is it like in real life for you? And, and you talk about this a little bit in the book the the experiences that either radicalized you or completely just shifted the way that you understood it. Not academic experiences, but like being in the hospital with people in need. And you are the face of the help of like the support. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Of the of the cure. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah. I mean, it definitely depended on what the environ–, what environment I was in when I was in training, I was in a predominantly Black patient environment. Um. Probably about 30% of the health professionals were also Black, but it was in that environment at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, which is a chronically underfunded hospital that I was actually able to see or able to connect the dots of why my communities were so unhealthy, that there was nothing individually wrong with us, that there was something very much wrong with the with the structure of the communities that we lived in. Like that [?] people because of inadequate housing, because they lived in food deserts, um because they lived in jobs where they didn’t have paid family leave or health insurance. They weren’t able to care for themselves. So I was able to connect the dots. And I talk about this patient I had who had sickle cell disease. He’s actually like a compilation of several patients that I had. But sickle cell disease is traditionally taught as a this is a Black disease we’re we’re even tested in medical school, what are risk factors for sickle cell disease? Black is one of them. Black is not a risk factor. [laugh] Like Black is a race, is a social construct. Yes. Geographical ancestry tied to certain parts of the world can put you at risk for sickle cell disease. But because it’s been racialized as a Black disease, it’s been chronically underfunded. There are 1 or 2 treatments for sickle cell disease, actually, one just another one just came out within the last month involving gene editing. But there are hundreds for cystic fibrosis. There are hundreds for hemophilia, which are other inherited diseases that impact uh mostly white people. But because sickle cell is a Black disease, we see patients with sickle cell disease in the E.R. so often. And I got to see firsthand because the system outside was so dysfunctional, they had to come to the E.R. when they were in pain, when they were having pain crises or complications of sickle cell disease. And because of that, they get tagged with, oh, this person is drug seeking. This person is looking for a pain medication. So that’s the only reason why they are here. I had supervising doctors tell me as a resident, hey, make sure you check their blood work and that they actually do have sickle cell because I don’t believe them. But it became very stigmatizing because they look like, sickle cell patients look like us. So you’re like– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Right. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Why are you being like this? Why are you treating patients this way? Why are you not adequately treating this patient’s pain? And it felt like, oh, because this patient is Black. You don’t even see the pain that they’re in, or you don’t even think that they deserve dignified care. And this happens everywhere. But I didn’t really get to see it until I was in my residency. And that really stuck with me. And because of that, people with sickle cell disease, they end up living very short lives. They die in their late 40s or early 50s. And I think, you know, and I think about it, I’m like that’s racism. That’s what racism does. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: That is. Yeah. That, you know, for all of us, there’s like, a thing that radicalized us. And um and reading your story about, um what was his name? Jordan. Did I make that up? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. No. Yeah. Yeah, that was a that’s the– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Okay. [?]. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. Jordan. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Um. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Mm hmm. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Um. Really it really stuck with me. Now, when we think about the solutions. Right like, people, I’ve read a lot about the maternal mortality um issue. And and as you know, in the book, if people are questioning Serena Williams then lord knows, they’ll question anybody. Um. What is the structural fix? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Can can people who aren’t doctors do anything, or is it support the doctors? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. I mean, I think just like you already alluded to, we know racism is embedded into every single social institution, right? It’s embedded in the criminal legal system. Educational system. And I think what I wanted to make sure people understood is that, like in New York City, the same communities that have the highest maternal mortality rates or the highest rates of chronic diseases like asthma, um those are the same neighborhoods that were redlined in the 1930s or that have been um disinvested in or chronically disinvested in because of discriminatory practices. And so I want people to understand that health is not just about individuals making the right choices for themselves. That’s like literally 10% of what health is. The other piece of health that everyone needs to understand is that, yes, it depends on how safe your community is, right? Can you go out and take a walk? Do you have green space in your community? Um. What’s the educational quality like? Right? Are you able to get a decent quality education? Are you able to find gainful employment? You know, so so it’s like we have to like, look at all of those, what we call the social determinants of health and how racism impacts them to think about solutions. So that’s why I always say it’s not just about making sure we educate health professionals to see Black people as human beings. That is only one piece of it. [laugh] What happens in the hospitals is only one piece of that. And I do think there need to be processes and procedures in place to ensure that we are getting the best quality care, that discriminatory care is not happening to us because that often happens. But also, what is life like outside? We know that birthing people are more likely to have pre-term delivery, it’s just also because of the stress of dealing with everyday racism. So I need people like white folks on an individual level. Um. Non-Black people of color on an individual level, to think about again their own internal biases, educating their family and friends, thinking about how it’s show, racism is showing up in their workplaces, thinking about these choice points, these equity choice points that we make all the time in whatever role we’re in about, oh, are you going to promote the same person you’ve already promoted? Or are you going to go with um someone who doesn’t quite fit, right? Um. Or what vendor are you going to use in the role that you have at your job? So I always think about like, you know, what are these choices that we’ve been making that or that people in power have been making that get repeated all over and over again. So again, policy around health. Policy around education, around mass incarceration, all of it is connected. And it’s important to really to even if it’s advocacy on a community, a local level in your community on these issues because all of it is connected to how healthy we are. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: This is um, such a random question, but since I have you, I was like, let me ask. Because you and your sister both are doctors, do you ever get to doctor together? Like, do you get to, like, do doctor things together? I think about my sister, me and my sister, both of us were middle school math teachers. Um. And she’s a principal now. And I worked inside of the the central office. And I’ll never forget the moments where I used to call her and be like, TeRay, I don’t know how to. I’m like, you know, I need to teach this, and can you help me figure out the best way to do it? Do you ever get to have doctor moments with your sister? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. We we do. I mean, she does primary care and um and focuses on HIV um on Black women with HIV, and I do emergency medicine. So sometimes, like, she’ll be like, girl, someone came in and x, y, z happened. And I didn’t even know how to deal with it. So I feel like I can I can help her and and vice versa. I’ll ask her. Wait, tell me again, mammograms? How often and when? Like preventive care. So um, I definitely think we see each other as a resource and we’re grateful. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I love that. That must be so. It’s like, you know, sibling stuff is so fun sometimes. Where you’re like, okay, I wanted to know too. You know, there’s a lot in the book. What was the most surprising thing to you when you were writing it? Was it the writing about uncovering your mom’s story? Or sort of writing it in–

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –this way, were there pieces about the the history of medicine that were the most surprising pieces, like what was the what was the most unearthed or like the hardest or the most complicated that that came up?

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: So I think that I no no the hardest, but I don’t not hardest in a, in a negative way. But I think obviously telling my family’s story and and talking about my mother and literally like reflecting on how hard her life was and the fact that she died from leukemia when we were only when she was 47, we were only 19 years old. I felt like it really hit me that she was robbed, because also, I’m now 47, oh for– yup I’m 47 years old, so like, you know, I’m like, wow, there was so much more of my mother’s life that she could have lived. And I feel like it’s really my sister and my responsibility to make sure that we are doing the work so that her legacy continues. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And what is your advice to young people who want to go into medicine, or or people sort of looking for like a encouraging word about the medical profession? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Okay, yeah. So what I will say is that there are so many different ways we can help our community. I think that sometimes, like people think being a physician in health care is the only way. There are a lot of really wonderful roles within health care. There is, you know, not only physicians, but but medical assistants, physician physician assistants, nurse practitioners, um occupational therapists, physical therapists, like, there are so many ways that we can contribute to the health of our community. We can even go to a public health school. All that to say is that there is such a need to have us there in our communities, working with our folks. Like, I can’t even say how important that is. And because of gatekeeping and policies like the ones we’ve talked about, you know, they don’t allow us in. But, you know, just know that there are people like me, um folks like my sister that are out there advocating for them. And our presence is so, so incredibly important to our patients. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Here is two questions that we ask everybody. The first is um, what’s a piece of advice that you’ve gotten over the years that’s stuck with you? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Okay, so my father always told me, starting from when I was very young, that, you know, simple, but be nice to people. He said. You never know who you’re interacting with, and it really doesn’t matter who they are or what their role is. It’s just that you always want to put your best foot forward. And I feel like that’s what I’ve always done. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Boom um and then the second is, what do you say to people whose hope is challenged in moments like this? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: People who feel like they’ve done all the things, right? They read your book, they read my book. They emailed. They testified. They stood in the street like they did everything. And the world didn’t change in the way they wanted it to. What do you say to those people? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Well, one I say, I see you, I I feel you. I have been there at times. Um. I think what I’ve recognized about my own journey and this journey that I had not expected um, you know, I have my own consulting firm now. I do medical contributor work. Now I’m an author. These are things I never thought I would do, ever. Just because I didn’t think these opportunities were available to me. But what I would say is, is that people see you. The people who need to see you, they see you, the people who need to be inspired by you, they’re inspired by you. And the fact is, is that even though we may not be able to see perceptible change within our short time or within a lifetime, that we just have to keep going because like our ancestors kept going [laugh] we have to keep going because we actually have no other choice but to keep going, but also to take care of ourselves and rest, recover, recuperate in the process as well. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And do you have a um do you have a community of of Black doctors like your mom did? 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: I do, I have like all my girls from medical school and um I have my friends from residency and folks that I worked with. So I definitely have a group of people that I know I can always go to, like within medicine, who who get me and understand what it’s like to be a Black health professional, a Black physician um in medicine in this country. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: But what do you want to do next in your in your own, I’m so interested in. I feel like I know so much about your mother and and your dad, and um and I’m interested in,like what you, what’s your, you wrote a book and the book is great. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yes. I, thank you no I like to um I think ultimately, policy is what’s going to have the biggest impact on the health of our communities, whether it’s local, state or federal. And so I would love to have more influence with policymakers who are focusing on health equity, um just to make those connections um to be an advocate to, to, to make sure that we’re impacting our communities on a larger level and not just an individual level. So as a physician, that’s the individual impact the, you know, one on one. But now I feel like such a need to really work on policy that impacts communities and not just individuals. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And where do people go to stay in touch with you? Is it is it Twitter? Is it Facebook? Is it Instagram? How do people stay in touch?

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: Yeah. So I am on Twitter at @uche U-C-H-E underscore Blackstock. I’m also on Instagram at @ucheblackstockmd and then I’m also on LinkedIn at Uché Blackstock. So you can find me in all those all those social media channels. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Boom. Well, we consider you a friend of the pod and can’t wait to have you back. 

 

Dr. Uché Blackstock: I’m so honored. I had so much fun. Thank you for having me. [music break]

 

DeRay Mckesson: Well that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning in to Pod Save the People this week. Tell your friends to check it out and make sure you rate it wherever you get your podcasts. Whether it’s Apple Podcasts or somewhere else, and we’ll see you next week. Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media. It’s produced by AJ Moultrié and mixed by Evan Sutton. Executive produced by me and special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger, and Myles E. Johnson. [music break]