Race, Racism, and Whiteness: What is He Talking About?

Des Moines, IA US
February 24, 2022

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Target Audience

Healthcare professionals.

Description from Dr. Nelson

As a white physician in the United States, I was unaware of issues of race, racism, and whiteness and how these play out in the health of people of color. This is the experience of most physicians and health care providers. I will share my personal experiences with interpersonal and institutional barriers within healthcare. I will also describe some of the tools and interventions I have found successful in starting to move the needle toward true social justice to improve health equity measures. 

This lecture will focus on defining terms around race, racism, and whiteness. I will discuss how racial narratives affect our biases and decision-making, negatively affecting outcomes for our patients of color and other underrepresented and historically oppressed groups. Although the focus will be on race, these processes transcend race and affect all marginalized people. 

This presentation is born out of my work as a physician and the recognition of the impact of racism and provider bias on racial disparities in health care. I have been studying, researching, and training on this content extensively for the last ten years and, with Dr. Heather Hackman, have conducted racial justice training for physicians, nurses, students, and others in the Upper Midwest and nationally. As a result, I have accrued a body of information regarding the transformation of racial disparities and share that content in this presentation. 


  • Recognize race as an independent factor in health equity.
  • List three barriers to health equity, including how racism affects health.
  • Describe how implicit bias and stereotyping on the part of providers impact racial disparities in health care, especially for children.
  • Utilize concrete tools for moving towards health equity and improving our self-efficacy in treating our patients of color.


Stephen C. Nelson, MD
Hackman Consulting Group

Dr. Stephen Nelson is a physician specializing in treating Sickle Cell Disease at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended medical school and completed his pediatric residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. His pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship was completed at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Nelson joined the hematology/oncology program at the Children’s of Minnesota in 1993. Dr. Nelson received a Bush Fellowship in 2009 to study the role of racism in the treatment of patients with SCD and has presented the findings of that study, conducted with Dr. Hackman, at conferences, staff development sessions, and professional meetings, and more recently has co-authored an article on the findings with Dr. Hackman.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 0.75 AOA Category 2­A
  • 0.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 0.75 CPME
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
02/24/2022 - 1:00pm CST
Event ends: 
02/24/2022 - 1:50pm CST
Des Moines University
3200 Grand Avenue
Student Education Center Auditorium
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States
+1 (515) 271-1596

IMPORTANT! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DMU is closed to external visitors. Only individuals with an active DMU badge may attend on-site.

Accreditation Statements

  • MD: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS). Des Moines University (DMU) is accredited by the IMS to provide continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this live activity for 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • DO: Des Moines University (DMU) is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to provide osteopathic continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this program for a maximum of 0.75 AOA Category 2-A credits and will report CME and specialty credits commensurate with the extent of the physician’s participation in this activity.
  • DPM: Des Moines University (DMU) is approved by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education as a provider of continuing education in podiatric medicine. DMU has approved this activity for a maximum of 0.75 continuing education contact hours.
  • Other healthcare providers: This live activity is designated for 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Educational Grants

No ineligible company provided financial support for this continuing education activity. This CE opportunity is made possible by the generous support of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation.


The speaker(s) will disclose if any pharmaceuticals, medical procedures, and devices discussed are investigational or unapproved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The determination of educational content and the selection of speakers is the responsibility of the activity director. 

Relevant to the content of this educational activity, the following individual(s) have no conflict(s) with ineligible companies to disclose.

  • Stephen C. Nelson, MD - Speaker
  • Rich A. Salas, PhD - Planning Committee Member
  • Lisa Streyffeler, PhD - Planning Committee Member
  • Julia Van Liew, PhD - Activity Director and Planning Committee Member


The information provided in this activity is for continuing education. It is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The content of each presentation does not necessarily reflect the views of Des Moines University.

Available Credit

  • 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 0.75 AOA Category 2­A
  • 0.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 0.75 CPME


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