Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine” as Want to Read:
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine

by
3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,153 ratings  ·  327 reviews
One doctor's passionate and profound memoir of his experience grappling with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black Americans

When Damon Tweedy begins medical school,he envisions a bright future where his segregated, working-class background will become largely irrelevant. Instead, he finds that he has joined a new world where race is front and center. The reci
...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Picador (first published 2015)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Black Man in a White Coat, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Elle There are only a couple mentions of indigenous peoples in the book, and very little discussion about how they are treated.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,153 ratings  ·  327 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Better Eggs
This is the second book I've read recently about African-American men from backgrounds where people do not traditionally become professionals, becoming successful doctors and professors. Both were addressing the racism inherent in the medical school acceptance system and in health care itself. Both books were interesting and hardly overlapped. The other book was High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. Both are very wor ...more
carol.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to understand more about medicine and race
If there is one thing that can pull me out of my traditional genres, it's a meditation on modern medicine. Combine that with a memoir from an under-represented demographic, and it was only a moment before I grabbed it off the library display.

I've been working in the hospital setting in the upper midwest for over fifteen years, and I can count on one hand the number of black doctors I've met (interestingly, the two that first come to mind are surgeons), so I was particularly interested in what I
...more
Jessica Woodbury
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love medical memoirs, and right now I am constantly reading about the state of race in the US so this book hit a real sweet spot for me. Tweedy may not be the same kind of writer as Atul Gawande, he is more straightforward and simple, but that makes him a great source for a book like this.

Tweedy has broken down the issues facing Black Americans as patients and as doctors so that each chapter examines one in detail. It also follows him through his training and practice chronologically so that
...more
Traci
*Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Picador for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this book.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Journey Through Race, Medicine, and Inequality is a memoir by Damon Tweedy, a black male who grew up in a largely blue collar family, and went on to pursue higher education and ultimately medical school (*Note: throughout this review, I am using the same terms as the author, who used the terms “black” and “white” primarily rather than “African-American” and
...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Lately I have been reading a number of books about medicine and about race in America, so this one hit a sweet spot for me, although I am neither African-American nor in the medical field. But this book is particularly good, as a memoir, as it deals with medicine and medical training, and as it deals with race, so I would recommend it to a wide audience.

When Damon Tweedy started medical school, he was disheartened to hear of nearly every disease, “more common in blacks,” and soon saw health disp
...more
Sarah Weathersby
This was a book club selection for one of my Book Clubs. I would call it an outstanding book to read. When Damon Tweedy entered medical school at Duke University, he expected a promising career which would give him the opportunity to serve the community. What he learned repeatedly is, "Being Black is bad for your health." His professors highlighted the instances of poor blacks with no health insurance who can't afford the treatments they need, as well as the lack of health services for blacks in ...more
Kristin
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Race has become a huge issue over the past year. After the church shootings at the AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, some of the women of our church decided to get together and read. Each of us would read a different book on the subject of race and report back in a month. It would open a discussion for us on the different aspects of racism in our society, and how we can effectively combat it. Having my career in the medical ...more
Tamar
A quick, easy, and educational read about the ramifications of being black, be it a patient or doctor, in the US medical system. Not likely to get any awards for best book of the year due to its simple writing style. It's not a bad book, it's just not particularly enthralling in the way that a book like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (which dealt with similar/overlapping topics) was. However, I (a public health grad student) would definitely recommend it to students of public health and me ...more
Book Riot Community
A look at one man’s experiences as a black doctor and how the issues of race have influenced him. For example, on his first day at Duke University medical school, one of his professors assumed he was a custodian and asked him to fix the lightbulbs. This was in the 1990s. WTF. It’s been a really interesting book so far (I’m not quite finished). I like that Tweedy doesn’t shy away from his own prejudices that he had and learned to overcome in his practice.

— Kristen McQuinn


from The Best Books We Re
...more
 Sarah Lumos
I appreciated Dr. Damon Tweedy’s willingness to address this difficult and uncomfortable topic with poise. He gives readers an inside scope on the role race, prejudice, and bias plays in medicine. Since Tweedy grew up in an impoverished neighborhood, nobody expected him to become a working professional. Though he was able to beat the odds, his road to psychiatry was rough. He recounts being discriminated against at the Duke University School of Medicine. For example, there was an incident where ...more
Melody
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
_Black Man in a White Coat_ is my favorite kind of memoir: simultaneously introspective and socially aware. Tweedy's life experiences shed light on the complexities of being a Black doctor in a system characterized by racial disparity. However, he also allows his research about these disparities to shape the way he understands his own experiences.

The book is scrupulously researched, and well-written (though not poetic: it is written in a journalistic style, without literary aspirations). What mo
...more
La'Tonya Rease Miles
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
No lie: after reading this book, I went and had my blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Tweedy makes a very compelling case for the interconnectedness between poverty, racism and communal health. You can tell that he probably has spent some time around either low-key racists or skeptics because he builds his points quite carefully. He's definitely not a ranter.

One of the most compelling moments arrives right at the beginning when he recalls one of his medical school professors who mistook hi
...more
Rebecca
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Extraordinary!! Everyone should read this book. Moving and very thought-provoking memoir from a black doctor who grew up in DC area, went to medical school at Duke, and worked in rural clinics, Duke hospital, and inner city Grady hospital (trauma center in Atlanta). A lot to learn here about medical education, communication between doctors and patients, and effects of race and socioeconomics on health and health care delivery. Insightful, poetic, self-aware about the judgments we make about ours ...more
Sue
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Damon Tweedy does not have suggestions about how to organize the American health care system. He does not have suggestions about how to make the society more equitable racially. This is not that kind of book. Whatever political fights there are around the issue of health care, they are not here.

The subtitle says it: “A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine.” Like any good memoir, there is insight aplenty into the implications of one person’s thoughtful recollection of experience.

I should say
...more
Chanel
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very touching and a candid look regarding being African American male in a largely white medical field. I shed a few tears but it was extremely informative and moving. The main takeaway was that an Ivy League education does not isolate an ethnic group from bias or racist viewpoints from both the industry, co-workers or patients. But through a willingness to be the best that you can be, you can make a difference. Excellent:)

A few interesting quotes:
A patient at one of the local clients meeting,
...more
freddie berg
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Had the good fortune of attending a presentation by the author, who also submitted to Q&A format, and questions and comments from the audience. Immediate reaction, this is not just the author's story. He is also telling the stories of colleagues, teachers, and patients. Listening to questions, both formal and informal, realized the author has more to express than on the pages of his current book. Could not stop myself from emailing and contacting friends and others who could relate to my rea ...more
Douglas Graney
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting combination of race and medicine. Dr. Damon Tweedy’s career has many situations where differences between black and white affects the treating of patients. If you’re not afraid to confront the race issue vis-a-vis medicine, get this.
Cassidy
Required reading for anyone in the medical field

My school’s book club is having a discussion with the author, I’ll update afterward, but I’m so excited to meet him and talk about this amazing book.
Bryan Seaford
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read, highly recommend.
C
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
In Black Man in a White Coat Dr. Tweedy uses clinical anecdotes and stories from his own experiences as a patient to highlight inequities in healthcare training, access, and delivery. Though the prose is simple rather than sparkling, I found this book to be a very accessible and essential read. I wish I had read it before my third year of medical school -- some of his points about affirmative action, teenage pregnancy, and homophobia in the black community were especially interesting and I think ...more
Lynn
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about race and medicine. The book details the medical, psychological, and sociological factors that contribute to the poor health of the average black people as compared to the average white person. It also discusses the plight of the black medical student. The author was actually asked by a medical professor if he was there to fix the lights. It also includes a very thoughtful section on race and HIV. The book can at times be preachy but is an important and timely book
Lynne Spreen
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Tweedy has done the country a favor by writing this book. Using his own experience, he pens interesting anecdotes to illustrate his point: that race is a factor in the degree of access and quality of health care available to Americans. I found particularly chilling one story about him visiting urgent care after a weekend basketball injury (twisted knee). He was dressed in a sweatshirt and tennies. The doctor gave Tweedy a perfunctory exam and directions for aftercare, whereupon Tweedy asked ...more
Rachel
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Black Man in a White Coat is Damon Tweedy’s memoir of his experience as a black man getting into medical school up through becoming a practicing physician. At the very beginning of medical school, one of his professors mistook him for a maintenance worker even though he was dressed nicely and had been in his class for a month. Tweedy recounts his embarrassment, even though it was the professor who should have been embarrassed. He also talks about the mixed emotions he felt about a form of affirm ...more
Jean
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Tweedy tells the story of his life in medical school, residency and in medical practice as a black man. He attended Duke University Medical School in 1996. He tells the story of his humiliation of being mistaken for a maintenance worker by his professor. He says he felt uncomfortable and like an outsider all during his schooling at Duke. He also discusses the affirmative action and how helpful it has been to the minority.

The author also delves into his health problems. He goes into depth about h
...more
Rachel
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I like doctor books - ones that have lots of stories about interactions with patients, diagnosing puzzling illnesses, and a young doctor's personal and professional growth. This one has plenty of that, but it has an additional dimension: a clear look at the impact of racism on medicine in this country. I was only marginally aware that African Americans have so many illnesses at such higher rates than white people. He explores the economic and cultural factors that lead to this problem. He also t ...more
Anna
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
So much to like about this book! The personal story is interesting - being black and working class at Duke medical school where most of his classmates are white, wealthy and went to Ivy league schools, personal struggles with hypertension, working in free care clinics, and becoming a psychiatrist. His view on the wider world of health care - racism, poverty, inequality, and personal responsibility - is well expressed and important as well. So many shocking and depressing stories from his Duke pr ...more
Lisa (Nfinite.Pages)
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Great insight into the medical field and how a African American doctor saw racism from different angles such as doctors on doctors, patient on doctors, educators on students and so forth. He shares his own self discovery and his view on African American patient, gays, men and women on drugs, psychiatric matters and so forth.

Tweedy does a great job of providing statistics on hypertension, diabetes, obesity, HIV as well as showing an inside look on clinics set up to treat patients who are poor an
...more
Teri Pre
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
I read Ben Carson's book, which could also have been called "Black Man in a White Coat" but much preferred this one. Carson's book was all Me, Me, Me, while this book is more ? ? ?. Tweedy put a lot of thought into the experiences he had, good or bad, and took lessons from each of them. It wasn't a great or compelling book but I'm glad I read it.
Bryan Cebulski
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Plenty of enlightening observations on the experiences of black men both in the medical field and in general health patterns. Not as in-depth as I'd hoped though. Pretty dry writing too, very little personality. Guessing it was either ghostwritten or written with little experience.
Kathleen
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dr. Damon Tweedy, a psychiatrist, writes unflinchingly about his experiences as a young black man growing up in a blue-collar family and then becoming a doctor. This well-written memoir is alternately funny and deeply thought-provoking.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy
  • The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family
  • Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century
  • The American Civil War
  • Proud Shoes
  • We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival
  • Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx
  • Into the Storm: Violent Tornadoes, Killer Hurricanes, and Death-Defying Adventures in Extreme Weather
  • Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery
  • Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals
  • LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination
  • The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade
  • Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America
  • Adventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS
  • Mississippi in Africa
  • Standing Tall: Lessons in Turning Adversity into Victory
  • Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader
  • Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was: An Oral History
See similar books…
“Could it be that despite all the years I spent in medical school and residency training acquiring specialized knowledge and practical skills, that this expertise mattered little to my patients' overall health?” 1 likes
“By the late 1980s, blacks accounted for half of all HIV cases in women; most recent” 0 likes
More quotes…