Physician sues university, alleges retaliation for calling out racial bias

Stanley Berry, MD, is suing Detroit-based Wayne State School of Medicine for allegedly stifling his advocacy for Black patients and passing him over for promotion after speaking out, The South End reported May 30.

Dr. Berry has served as interim chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology since March 2021 and said he was denied appointment to permanent chair after reporting implicit racial bias against pregnant Black women in the residency program.

The conflict arose after Dr. Berry was informed of an incident Jan. 14, 2022, in which a Black mother at Sinai Grace Hospital was sent home in pain. Dr. Berry and two others met with the patient, but Dr. Berry left with the impression the concern was not being taken seriously, according to the report.

Dr. Berry wrote a memo to the department outlining the possibility of implicit bias causing conflict in the case. He invited the whole department to a meeting Jan. 27. 2022, to have an open discussion, but the meeting was canceled by the dean. However, the lawsuit says a separate meeting was held in which Dr. Berry was not invited and he allegedly was a topic of conversation.

Dr. Berry alleges he was reprimanded for attempting to voice his concerns on implicit bias and in April 2022 was not considered for the permanent chair position due to negative reports from his peers. The lawsuit said some of his co-workers were unwilling to work with him due to the attention he raised about implicit bias earlier in the year.

Dr. Berry filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court on April 26, 2023.

A spokesperson for the university told The South End: "No entity is more committed to the overall health and well-being of Detroit's diverse population than Wayne State University. We are proud of our commitment to diversity and inclusion; it is at the core of everything we do."

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