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Black Medical Student Publishes Handbook on Recognizing Symptoms on Darker Skin

Malone Mukwende is a second-year student at St. George’s Medical School at the University of London. But in his studies, he noticed the lack of representation in clinical teaching materials. Malone said, “We were often taught to look for symptoms, such as rashes, in a way that I knew wouldn't appear on my own skin.”

In response, he wrote his handbook, specifically designed to show doctors how to recognize certain conditions in people with darker skin. It has side-by-side photo comparisons as well as suggestions regarding diagnostic language for “people of color.”

In an interview with British Medical Journal, Mukwende elaborated on what prompted his effort:

The booklet addresses many issues that have been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as families being asked if patients are “pale” or if their lips “turned blue.” These are not useful descriptors for a black patient and, as a result, their care is compromised from the first point of contact … It is essential we begin to educate others so they are aware of such differences and the power of the clinical language we currently use.

Possible Preaching Angle:

We should increase our knowledge to be able to serve all of God's people. If there is something preventing us from understanding the needs of our neighbors, we ought to make every effort to increase our understanding so that no one is excluded from God's blessing.

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