Damon Tweedy, MD, has been named the Solomon Carter Fuller Award recipient for his pioneering work in addressing disparities in the medical profession. Dr. Tweedy, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, is a New York Times bestselling author of the book Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine. Dr. Tweedy graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 2000 and subsequently graduated from Yale Law School in 2003 before returning to Duke to complete his medical and psychiatric training in 2007.
In September 2015, Dr. Tweedy released his memoir about his personal experiences in the field of medicine. The release of his book has sparked a conversation in the medical field and mainstream media about the continued need for initiatives to increase diversity within the workforce and promote community-based models for improving access and quality of health care for all. Dr. Tweedy’s book draws attention to the disparities between the number of minority doctors in relation to minority patients along with the regular microaggressions experienced by minority and underrepresented doctors in the workplace.
The Solomon Carter Fuller Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is presented each year to a black citizen who is a pioneer in an area that has significantly improved the quality of life for black people. The award is decided by a committee from the Caucus of Black Psychiatrists at the APA. The award is named after the early 20th century psychiatrist Solomon Carter Fuller who was faced with unequal pay and underemployment. However, despite these obstacles, Dr. Fuller was dedicated to advancing clinical knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease. After his death in 1953, the APA established the Solomon Carter Fuller award and the Black Psychiatrists of America was founded with the mission of helping young black psychiatrists to complete their residency.
“Dr. Damon Tweedy was selected for the Solomon Carter Fuller Award for his contribution in medicine in providing a narrative known to many African American and minority physicians,” says Kimberly Gordon, MD, FAPA, President for the Caucus of Black Psychiatrists at the APA. “His reflections help shed light to the experience of many minorities in medicine, who often carry the burden of living in two worlds, one of white 'coat 'privilege and the other challenge of being all so keenly aware of the structural racism and health disparities in medicine/psychiatry. His reflections validate the experiences of many minorities in medicine”