Montefiore Medicine CEO: I fought COVID-19 and racism, and only beat one

Philip Ozuah, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that as the head of a major hospital in the Bronx and a black man, he has fought two plagues: COVID-19 and racism. But he has only beat the former.

Dr. Ozuah's hospital was ravaged by COVID-19. More than 2,200 patients and 21 staff members died from the novel virus in what Dr. Ozuah described as 12 weeks that will haunt him "forever." 

But as the hospital's COVID-19 caseload drops, "the nation is coming to grips with another fearful crisis," he wrote: "the lethal effects of racism, the pain of which is all too familiar to me."

Dr. Ozuah wrote about his experience as a black man, how he was stopped while walking through a white neighborhood in Los Angeles to catch a bus; pulled over "almost daily because you're young and you're black and you're male and you’re driving a late-model automobile;" and being mistaken for a coat checker at a gala. 

"I know the cumulative burden of those experiences day after day, week after week, month after month, decade after decade," he wrote, adding: "I see rare hope that these twin disasters disproportionately hurting minorities — one a brand-new virus and the other a virus as old as the country itself — could finally prove the true strength of our shared humanity."

Read the full op-ed here

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