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The UW Medicine Healthcare Equity team has started a system-wide, quarterly book club and is inviting all employees to read and discuss books about diversity, equity, inclusion and race.

Dr. Pat Dawson, medical director for healthcare equity says the team started the book club to give people suggestions about what they can read to expand their knowledge and personal growth about these topics and to give them an opportunity to have discussions that may help them have discussions in other areas.

“It’s hard for people to talk about these things, so having a book club where they have permission to talk about them is useful. They can practice having dialogue so they can repeat those dialogues in other contexts as well,” she says.

“We choose books people are talking about or that address issues people in our system have brought up when we’ve talked to them or observed in our environments,” says Dr. Paula Houston, director of healthcare equity. “And they’re readable. We want to make sure they’re books that are accessible to people for whom this is new information, so the writers we choose write in a way that’s very accessible.”

How to participate

In-person book club meetings are held in a variety of locations around campus, but we also invite you to share your thoughts about the books on the Huddle by sending emails to

The next book

The next healthcare equity book club meeting will be held from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the Isaacson Classroom at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture and the book is “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo.

DiAngelo, an affiliate associate professor of education at UW has spoken and offered popular training sessions about White Fragility to many groups across our system. According to DiAngelo, White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. Her book explains the dynamics of White Fragility and how we might build our capacity in the ongoing work towards racial justice.

For more information on Robin DiAngelo and White Fragility, watch her discuss her book or visit


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