(Photo courtesy Livy Low)
Student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Last Wednesday, thousands of students at more than 70 medical schools across the country staged “white-coat die-ins” to make a statement about racial injustice, including as it manifests itself in our health care system.
As one of these students, I lay on the ground for 7 minutes, the same amount of time that Eric Garner’s body lay on a Staten Island sidewalk after he was choked to death by police. While I laid there, I thought about the systemic injustices in our society and how I and other students could effect change.
When we first donned our white coats, my classmates and I took an oath to “do no harm.” To me, taking that oath was making a pledge to always respect and honor the value of human life.
Looking at current inequalities in the health care system, it’s clear to me that not all lives are valued equally. Racial disparities persist, often insidiously. One study found that there is an excess of 83,570 African American deaths per year due to health disparities. 
How can we explain this persistent inequality? Racial disparities are endemic ...