Cross says she was on a Delta Flight from Detroit heading to Minneapolis when a passenger became unresponsive and flight attendants called for medical help.
But when Cross tried to step in, she recalls the flight attendant told her, “We are looking for actual physicians…”
“I’m sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I’m sick of being disrespected,” Cross wrote in a Facebook post after the alleged incident.
The response has galvanized black doctors to respond by posting their own credentials — and faces — to show people exactly #WhatADoctorLooksLike. #WhatADoctorLooksLike challenges stereotypical depictions of black people by showing their successes and achievements.
Delta is currently investigating the Cross incident. Meanwhile, black doctors everywhere will continue to win.
Check out the best responses to #WhatADoctorLooksLike below:
The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute for Medicine, was founded in 1970. Election to the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. With the 70 new members, there are now 1,826 active fellows of the National Academy of Medicine along with 137 foreign associates.
An analysis of the list of the 70 new members of the National Academy of Medicine by JBHE finds that five, or 7 percent, are Black.
Evan Dale Abel is the John B. Stokes Chair in Diabetes Research and director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center in the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. Dr. Abel is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and holds a Ph.D. in physiology from Oxford University in England.
Linda Burnes Bolton is vice president and chief nurse executive at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Burnes Bolton is a past president of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Black Nurses Association. She is a trustee at Case Western Reserve University. A graduate of Arizona State University, Dr. Burnes Bolton holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Otis Webb Brawley is a professor of hematology, medical oncology, medicine, and epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta. He is also the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. Dr. Brawley earned his medical degree at the University of Chicago.
Melissa Lynn Gilliam is dean for diversity and inclusion and a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gilliam is a graduate of Harvard Medical School.
Elizabeth Odilile Ofili is the senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, professor of medicine, and director of the Clinical Research Center at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. She earned her medical degree at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and a master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Norman Francis was just a few years into his tenure as president of Xavier University of Louisiana, a small Catholic institution in New Orleans, when a report that came across his desk alarmed him. It was an accounting of the nation’s medical students, and it found that the already tiny number of black students attending medical school was dropping.
It was the 1970s, at the tail end of the civil rights movement. Francis, a black man in his early 40s, had spent most of his life under the suffocating apartheid of the Jim Crow South. But after decades of hard-fought battles and the passage of three major civil rights laws, doors were supposed to be opening, not closing. Francis, the son of a hotel bellhop, had stepped through one of those doors himself when he became the first black student to be admitted to Loyola University’s law school in 1952.
Francis believed he was in a unique position to address the dearth of black doctors. Xavier served a nearly all-black student body of just over 1,300. At the time, most of Xavier’s science department was housed in an old surplus Army building donated to the college by the military after World War II. It had no air-conditioning, and the heater was so loud in the winter that instructors had to switch it off to be heard. But the science program had always been strong, if underfunded, and began producing its first medical-school students not long after the university was founded in 1925.
Today, Xavier’s campus is mostly wedged between a canal and the Pontchartrain Expressway in Gert Town, a neighborhood in the western part of New Orleans. It has some 3,000 students and consistently produces more black students who apply to and then graduate from medical school than any other institution in the country. More than big state schools like Michigan or Florida. More than elite Ivies like Harvard and Yale. Xavier is also first in the nation in graduating black students with bachelor’s degrees in biology and physics. It is among the top four institutions graduating black pharmacists. It is third in the nation in black graduates who go on to earn doctorates in science and engineering.
Xavier has accomplished this without expansive, high-tech facilities — its entire science program is housed in a single complex. It has accomplished this while charging tuition that, at $19,800 a year, is considerably less than that of many private colleges and flagship public universities. It has accomplished this without filling its classrooms with the nation’s elite black students. Most of Xavier’s students are the first in their families to attend college, and more than half come from lower-income homes.
‘‘The question always comes: ‘Well, how did this happen, and why are we No.1?’ ’’ said Francis, who recently retired from Xavier after 47 years as president. We were sitting in the dining room of his stately home in the Lake Terrace neighborhood on a sweltering day in August as he thought about the answer. ‘‘We decided we could do something about it. And what we did, what our faculty did, was just plain common sense.’’