Canadian Medical Association Journal focuses on anti-Black racism in next two issues

Dr. OmiSoore Dryden

Equitable cancer care for Black patients, medical schools’ responses to anti-Black racism, mental health of Black youth and gaslighting in academic medicine are some of the topics in two anti-Black racism in health care issues of CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) to be published October 24 and October 31, 2022.

Anti-Black racism is a threat to public and population health in Canada. Scholars and researchers in social and health sciences have studied and documented the effects of anti-Black racism and its impact on health inequities in Canada for decades, yet systemic racism has undermined the publication of this work. As a result of years of advocacy by the Black Health Education Collaborative (BHEC), CMAJ is publishing 2 special issues on the health of Black people in Canada and anti-Black racism in health care, to focus attention on this important topic and to provide a foundation for future content.

“It is incumbent upon health care practitioners to engage in anti-racist practices to improve the health experiences and outcomes for Black people. I believe the articles in the 2-part special issue will provide guidance, direction and insights on the steps to take to create better health outcomes for Black people in Canada,” commented Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, associate professor, JBlack Canadian Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University.

The articles in the special issues follow 2 broad themes: anti-Black racism and patient health, and anti-Black racism in the health system that affects trainees and medical professionals.

A working group composed of representatives of the BHEC, Black health scholars and practitioners, and CMAJ editors has assembled a range of research, analysis articles and commentaries by Black health professionals and researchers on topics such as mental health of Black youth; access to cancer care in Black patients; prostate cancer in Black Canadian men; disrupting anti-Black racism in medical practice and education; gaslighting in academic medicine, and anti-Black racism and medical education.

The special issue working group included Dr. OmiSoore Dryden; Dr. Notisha Massaquoi, assistant professor, Department of Health and Society, University of Toronto Scarborough; Dr. Mojola Omole, surgical oncologist and journalist in Ontario; Ms. Camille Orridge, senior fellow, Wellesley Institute; Dr. Bukola Salami, associate editor at CMAJ and associate professor of nursing, University of Alberta; and CMAJ Group editors, Dr. Kirsten Patrick, Dr. Andreas Laupacis and Ms. Erin Russell.

“Reflecting on the excellent articles that will be published in the 2 special issues, I am inspired to build on the foundations they lay,” writes Dr. Kirsten Patrick, editor-in-chief, CMAJ. “The special issues are a start, yet more work needs to be done by the CMAJ Group and academic journals to address racism in systems and processes.”

“For the last few decades, the Black health community has been involved in advocacy to shed light on the effects of anti-Black racism and systemic inequities that have underpinned poorer health outcomes for Black communities,” says Dr. Mojola Omole, a surgical oncologist in Ontario and journalist who also co-hosts CMAJ Podcast. “The inaugural BHEC and CMAJ special issue is the first step for all health professionals to move beyond treating the disease and treat the whole person. After all, health is not the only goal, but our patients’ well-being.”

“We celebrate the bold step CMAJ is making to ensure equitable inclusion of Black health issues and the work of Black contributors in this inaugural special issue and all subsequent publications,” says Dr. Notisha Massaquoi, assistant professor, Department of Health and Society, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Ontario. “This is not a one-time event and the commitment that CMAJ is making to be accountable to Black communities and do its part to eliminate anti-Black racism from health care in Canada is commendable!”