Telling the Story of Racism in American Health Care

Remote video URL

“Racism in medicine is a national emergency.” That’s how journalist Nicholas St. Fleur characterized the crisis facing American health care this spring, as his team at STAT embarked on “Color Code,” an eight-episode series exploring medical mistrust in communities of color across the country. In this webinar, we’ll take inspiration from their work to discuss strategies and examples for telling stories about inequities, disparities and racism in health care systems. How do you sensitively report on these difficult subjects? How do bring to life stories otherwise buried in medical charts and closed-door exam rooms? How do you document and substantiate the stories of bias and racism shared by patients? How can journalists go deeper on broader stories of structural racism, such as bias in medical algorithms and medical school curricula? We’ll be joined by St. Fleur, the series’ host, and Color Code’s multimedia producer, Theresa Gaffney, to talk about the journalistic challenges and opportunities for bringing such hidden stories into the broader conversation about American health care, and how it can better serve everyone.

This webinar is part of a mini-series exploring health equity in health systems in America. It is free and made possible by The Commonwealth Fund, the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, and The California Endowment.



Nicholas St. Fleur is a general assignment reporter and associate editorial director of events at STAT. He covers the intersection of race, medicine, and the life sciences, and was previously a Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow for STAT. Prior to joining STAT, he was a freelance science journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area covering archaeology, paleontology, space, and other curiosities of the cosmos. He previously worked for The New York Times and The Atlantic, and completed internships at Scientific American, Science Magazine, NPR, and the San Jose Mercury News. Nicholas received a B.S. in biology from Cornell University and is a graduate of the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Theresa Gaffney is a multimedia producer at STAT. She graduated from the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where she studied investigative health reporting. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Timmerman Report, and more. Before journalism, Theresa was a book publicist at Penguin Random House.




Suggested listening

  • "Color Code," by Nicholas St. Fleur and Theresa Gaffney, STAT