Intended for healthcare professionals


Ethnic minority staff and patients: a health service failure

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 21 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2226
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz, news editor1,
  2. Navjoyt Ladher, head of education1,
  3. Mala Rao, professor of public health2,
  4. Sarah Salway, professor of public health3,
  5. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor1,
  6. Victor Adebowale, chief executive4
  1. 1BMJ, London, UK
  2. 2Imperial College London, London, UK
  3. 3Health Equity and Inclusion Research Group, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  4. 4Turning Point, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Z Kmietowicz zkmietowicz{at}

A call for papers for a special theme issue of The BMJ

This autumn The BMJ will publish a special issue to reflect the working lives of doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds and the healthcare experiences of ethnic minority patients. Why? Because despite decades of evidence of disparities in health outcomes related to ethnicity and differential attainment among clinical staff, there has been little action. We want to highlight discrimination and health inequalities related to race and ethnicity, and we invite submissions on how to better characterise the problems, air debate, and find solutions.

Discrimination in health and healthcare is multifaceted. The direct effects of acts of discrimination on physical health are measurable, as first shown by the work of David Williams, a Harvard professor of public health who launched the everyday discrimination scale in 1997.1 In a 2016 TED talk he explained that the scale “captures ways in which the dignity and the respect of people who society does not value is chipped away at on a daily basis.”2 The scale has enabled researchers to link discrimination to an increased risk of a broad range of diseases, including heart disease, mental health, and obesity, as well as to low birthweight infants and premature mortality.3 …

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