Behavioral Science Launches White Coats for Black Lives Fellowship

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2021) — University of Kentucky College of Medicine students Thailandria Daniels and Megan Stewart were recently awarded inaugural Department of Behavioral Science White Coats for Black Lives Fellowships.

The fellowships, initiated by Anita Fernander, Ph.D., former associate professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and supported by the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, were developed to enhance medical students’ understanding of health disparities, political and social inequalities, and health care inequities experienced by Black Americans.

The fellowship was developed because the Department of Behavioral Science recognized political and social inequalities that have not only created significant health disparities among Black Americans but have led to health care inequalities experienced by Black people due to historical explicit bias and contemporary implicit bias across the health care system. The fellowship experience will enhance medical school training, increase the fellows’ understanding of how behavioral science research can help to address health disparities and enable students to be better prepared to care for underserved Black patient populations.

Over the course of 18 months, each fellow will work with a behavioral science faculty mentor on a research or community-engaged project that addresses the health of Black Americans. Fellows receive a stipend and will present their projects to the campus community in the fall of 2022.

Daniels (Laurie McLouth, Ph.D., faculty mentor) intends to focus on disparities in occupational stress between Black and white physicians in academic medicine and implications for advancing in leadership positions. Stewart (Jennifer Cole, Ph.D., faculty mentor) plans to focus on maternal health inequities among pregnant Black women, including health care inequities and decision-making around obstetric care providers.