Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program


Ashton Wesner

Second Advisor

Aaron Hanlon

Third Advisor

Gail Carlson


Long running inequity in health care and outcomes in the United States stem from failure to acknowledge the underlying role of the Transatlantic slave trade as it manifests in all facets of American society and commerce. This paper focuses specifically on the American medical system and its foundations to understand the precursors to generational trends in lack of access to healthcare and poor health for Black communities. This paper uses a three-pronged approach to understand the racist cycle of inequity, highlighting the history and origins of racism in American medicine, personal accounts and statistical evidence of inequity, and community and policy initiatives that orient conversations towards change and progress. The goal of this paper is to highlight historical and ongoing barriers to healthcare access for Black folks in the United States, and to push for accountability as well as inspire immediate action for the alleviation of identifiable stressors.


history of medicine, medical ethics, racism in america, racism in medicine, systemic racism in health