Skip to main content

Bridge Builders Summary


Bridge Builders was founded by Dani Brathwaite (c/o 2024) in response to increasing calls for justice and equity in medicine and science. The goal of Bridge Builders is to prepare students to be leaders and change-makers to combat racism and other inequities in medicine, science, and research.


During the first year of the program, from 2020-2021, a comprehensive curriculum of monthly seminars was developed for all interested MD-PhD students. The following year, from 2021-2022, the program was divided into two phases to engage both current students and newly entering students. All first-year students participate in a semester-long seminar series focused on exploring the history and impact of racism and other forms of structural injustice in medicine and science. The seminar series utilizes pieces of journalism, academic literature, podcast episodes, and interviews to inform discussions and consider strategies to promote equity in our fields. To engage students throughout all years of the program, a once-a-semester book club was implemented to stimulate discussion on societal structures that impact our daily lives and influence the way science and medicine are currently practiced. This in-person book club takes place during the final meeting of the program-wide Monday Night Seminar each semester.


MS2 curriculum (2023)

  • Racism in Medicine, Academia and the Ivory Tower
  • Media, medicine, and misinformation
  • Genetic Testing, Ancestry, and Reproduction
  • Environmental Racism


MS1 curriculum (2021-22)

  • Economic Racism
  • Environmental Racism
  • International Context of Racism
  • Race and Medicine
  • Conversation to Action


Original curriculum topics (2020-21)

  • The History of Slavery in the U.S. featuring The NYT 1619 Project
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Medical Research
  • Higher Education
  • Starting the Conversation About Race – How did we get here?
  • What can we do?
  • Becoming Culture Conscious and Memorable Memoirs
  • Race, Health, and the Black Body – Race and Healthcare, Implicit Biases
  • Racism Across Race
  • Building the Bridge: What Comes Next?


All-program books

  • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Fall 2021)
  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Recreate Race in the Twenty-first Century by Dorothy Roberts (Spring 2022)
  • Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel (Fall 2022)
  • The People’s Hospital by Ricardo Nuila (Fall 2023)


Bridge Builders Essential Reading List

  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Between the World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
  • Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
  • Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji
  • My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers
  • This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga
  • Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts