cover image Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine

Legacy: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine

Uché Blackstock. Viking, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593491-28-7

Physician and healthcare consultant Blackstock skillfully blends biography and advocacy in this passionate debut memoir. Blackstock’s mother, Dale, was a pioneering Black doctor in Brooklyn who headed a coalition of Black women physicians in the 1980s. Her example inspired Blackstock and her twin sister, Oni, to follow in their mother’s footsteps. When the sisters were undergraduates at Harvard, Dale died of leukemia at age 47; the siblings went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School in the 2000s as the school’s first Black mother-daughter legacies. After she was matched with Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, Blackstock, like her mother, persevered in the face of prejudice from patients and colleagues. Dedicating herself to fighting racial healthcare inequities, she formed Advancing Health Equity in 2019 to help improve care for patients of color. Blackstock’s inspiring account—which also covers her own health struggles (a misdiagnosis of her appendicitis nearly kills her) and her devastating divorce—is enhanced by her concrete diagnoses of the healthcare industry’s shortcomings and the firm, actionable steps (including engaging Black children in medical education as early as preschool) she provides to fix them. It’s a sobering and knowledge study of medical discrimination from someone with a lifetime of experience. Agent: Neeti Madan, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)