National Medical Association President Dr. Leon McDougle to address racial inequities in health care, from slavery to COVID.

Consistent with a history that is rife with medical discrimination and abuse against Black people, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities in the U.S., who are disproportionally employed as essential workers. Now, as vaccines are distributed to specific populations in phases, concerns are rising that this health disparity gap may widen. On Wednesday, January 20, Dr. Leon McDougle, MD, MPH, president of the National Medical Association, will address health care inequities as the Keynote Speaker for the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

His address, "Slave Health Deficit: The Journey to Health Parity," will bring a timely conversation to the University of Vermont and surrounding community via a free virtual lecture on Microsoft Teams. Dr. McDougle joins a growing list of experts at UVM to confront and discuss racial discrimination and the medical disparities illuminated by the pandemic. The expert of diversity and inclusion and racial health disparities is also a nationally recognized family medical physician, listed as a Best Doctor in America and rated among top ten percent of physicians in the nation for patient satisfaction.

As president of the nation's oldest professional association of Black doctors during the pandemic, Dr. McDougle has risen as a leading advocate for bringing non-white voices to the table through the development, trial and distribution of vaccines. In response, he is participating in the National Institutes of Health's COVID-19 Prevention Network, which is conducting late-stage clinical trials.

Dr. McDougle is the first African American to attain tenure as a professor in The Ohio State University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, where he currently serves as the first Chief Diversity Officer at the university’s Wexner Medical Center.

He joins an impressive roster of past MLK Celebration Keynote Speakers, including bestselling author and one of Time’s “Most Influential People of 2020” Ibram X. Kendi, former NCAA Chair Benjamin Jealous, BET News host and professor of media studies Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and the “smallest freedom fighter” named by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sheyann Webb-Christburg.

Tickets are free, required and available online for the keynote address on Wednesday, January 20, from 5:30 – 6:45 pm on Microsoft Teams. This presentation is sponsored by UVM President Suresh V. Garimella, the Larner College of Medicine, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Department of Student Life. To request a disability-related accommodation, please email Student Accessibility Services or call (802) 656-7753.

Learn more about the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.