Columbia Ob/Gyn residents raise more than $9,000 for Black Women's Health Imperative

Residents in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center are holding a fundraising campaign for the Black Women's Health Imperative via their Instagram. The campaign is intended to demonstrate solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at large, amplify Black voices from within the community, encourage future Black applicants to more strongly consider Columbia's Ob/Gyn residency program, and finally, to take the concrete action of raising funds.

Doreen Barnett, Medical Assistant, from the Columbia Ob/Gyn residents' campaign
Doreen Barnett, Medical Assistant, from the Columbia Ob/Gyn residents' campaign
Testimony from Doreen Barnett, from the Columbia Ob/Gyn residents' campaign
Testimony from Doreen Barnett, from the Columbia Ob/Gyn residents' campaign

"Many of us residents in the NYP-Columbia Ob/Gyn training program were moved by the recent murder of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody that has ignited international activism against ongoing police brutality and systemic racism,"  the residents - Clara Bertozzi-Villa, MD (PGY-2); Nicole Krenitsky, MD (PGY-2); Austin Oberlin, MD (PGY-1); Anna Staniczenko, MD (PGY-1); Conrad Stern-Ascher, MD (PGY-3) - said in a statement."While we were, and remain, involved with ongoing protests in NYC, we were also compelled to build on the foundation of our established residency education diversity task force and refocus our internal change. One small, short-term action that emerged to demonstrate solidarity with Black Lives Matter and offer concrete support to Black women’s health was to listen to and share the voices of a few of our many Black colleagues."

The campaign opened with a statement of support and commitment to anti-racism from the residents, highlighting ways in which the long history of racism and police violence in this country have created the conditions that contribute to stark healthcare disparities for patients from the labor floor to the oncology ward. The following eight days of posts during the campaign featured photos and testimonies from Black colleagues at Columbia, including Felicia Douglas, NP;  Doreen Barnett, MA; Ukachi Emeruwa, MD, MPH; Natasha Gaudin, RN; Diana Dawkins-Gordon, UA; Dara Matseoane-Peterssen, MD, MPH; Cynthia Miller, Surgical Technician; and Janice Aubey, MD

So far, the initial campaign has raised $9,217 benefitting the Black Women's Health Imperative, a non-profit organization dedicated to Black women's health issues. Donations to this organization support patients across the country whose health and wellbeing are tied to the systemic racism that the Black Lives Matter movement aims to dismantle. The campaign remains open and the residents hope to continue their fundraising efforts and other anti-racist work in the department and beyond.

"As a residency, we will continue work via a dedicated resident anti-racism curriculum and resident retreat, requesting our lecturers to highlight disparities during educational sessions, and through resident recruitment," the residents' statement continued. "As part of the department-wide Anti-Racism Task Force, many residents are involved in the following sub-committees toward ongoing, long-term anti-racist work in the areas of: residency education, evaluating areas of clinical practice to reduce obstetric and gynecologic health care disparities, engagement with our Washington Heights community, and continued political activism through partnership with ACOG and NYC-based Black Lives Matter and diversity-in-healthcare initiatives."

To see the full campaign and find out how you can support their fundraising efforts, visit @columbiaobgyn_residency on Instagram.