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Feature Health Inequality

Doing the work to end health inequalities caused by systemic racism

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 16 April 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n821

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Rapid Response:

Re: Doing the work to end health inequalities caused by systemic racism

Dear Editor,

As a British Indian Doctor, I want to see more from my medical and healthcare community in expanding curriculum to cover Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) skin conditions. There is a lack of awareness and education into how skin manifestations present in varied skin types and limited representation in educational material and research.

We know that Covid-19 disproportionately impacted BAME populations in the UK, including NHS staff, however studies and research under-represent these BAME populations. According to the BMA, between March and April 2020, 63% of all healthcare workers who died from Covid-19 were BAME. A systematic literature in the British Journal of Dermatology (Lester et al,. 2020) reviewed of all studies featuring cutaneous manifestations of covid-19 between 31st December 2019 and 3rd May 2020, giving a total of 130 images, had 92% of images in Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1-3, 6% in skin type 4 and no published photos in dark skin (type 5-6). This highlights the ever growing gap between research and BAME communities, that extends both nationally and internationally.

We, as a community, must fight against systemic racism and start with our own education and research. We must strive for better. I hope the BMJ will continue to promote this.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Jasmine Gandhi

British Medical Association. (2021, August 24). COVID-19: the risk to BAME doctors. The British Medical Association Is the Trade Union and Professional Body for Doctors in the UK.
Lester, J., Jia, J., Zhang, L., Okoye, G., & Linos, E. (2020). Absence of images of skin of colour in publications of COVID‐19 skin manifestations. British Journal of Dermatology, 183(3), 593–595.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 October 2021
Jasmine A Gandhi
SHO Doctor
Oxford, UK