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Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Collaboration / Community Engagement / Racism in Healthcare & Research Course


Structural Racism in Healthcare and Research Course

This free course, sponsored by the UR CTSI and Center for Community Health & Prevention, explores how the history of racism has shaped the relationship between doctors/researchers and patients/research participants who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Many of us know about the Tuskegee experiment, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. There have been countless abusive medical studies and practices since the time of slavery to present day. Enslaved individuals were experimented on, including surgical techniques without anesthesia. In the 19th century, students at American medical schools stole the corpses of recently buried Black people to be used for dissection. Birth control measures were disproportionately tested in Black women. Between the 1930s and 1970s there was a program of forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women. Critically examining and acknowledging the history of racism in our healthcare and research systems is essential to closing the health equity gap.

About the Course

This course is open to University of Rochester faculty, staff, trainees and students as well as community members (typically from community-based organizations).

Developed and is facilitated by our community partners, this course provides foundational knowledge of critical race theory and structural competency. At the end of the course participants should understand that racism, and not race, causes health disparities. They should also have a clear understanding of why mistrust of the healthcare system and the long history of their exploitation in research, is the primary reason for BIPOC individuals not participating in research studies.


The spring 2022 session is now fully enrolled. Applications are no longer being accepted.
If you have questions, please email

Course Sessions

All session will be held live on Zoom on Wednesday evenings starting in March, 2022, with additional follow-up discussion via an asynchronous platform.



March 23, 2022,
6-7 p.m.
Introductions All facilitators

March 30, 2022, 
6-7:30 p.m.

Laying the groundwork for community engagement

Traci C. Terrance, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Lucia Castillejo, M.S.

April 6, 2022
6-7:30 p.m.

A lesson in definitions

Mary Bisbee Burrows, Ed.D.
Katie Reed, B.S., R.N.

April 13, 2022
6-7:30 p.m.

The history of racism in healthcare and research

Katie Reed, B.S., R.N.
Mary Bisbee Burrows, Ed.D.
April 20, 2022
6-7 p.m.
Discussion Katie Reed, B.S., R.N.
Mary Bisbee Burrows, Ed.D.

April 27, 2022
6-7:30 p.m.

Understanding and overcoming racism in modern medicine

Katie Reed, B.S., R.N.
Mary Bisbee Burrows, Ed.D.

May 4, 2022
6-7:30 p.m.

A cultural resilience framework for healthcare and research

Traci C. Terrance, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Mary Bisbee Burrows, Ed.D.

May 11, 2022
6-7 p.m.


All facilitators

Meet the Facilitators

Lucia Acosta-CastillejoLucia Castillejo, M.S.
Executive Director,
Monroe County Medical Society

Karen RogersKaren Rogers, M.P.A.
Founder and CEO, 
Exercise Express

Katie ReedKatie Reed, B.S., R.N.
RN Education Manager,
Blossom Modern Home Care Solutions of WNY

Traci TerranceTraci Terrance, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. 
Clinician and Educator,
URMC Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine and Sankofa Family Counseling Services