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Mary Bassett is the New York City Public Health Commissioner and a health activist. Since beginning her career in Zimbabwe (where she worked for 17 years), Bassett has been trying to sound the alarm for the real problem that faces our health care: inequality.

During her time working in Zimbabwe, Bassett and her colleagues witnessed the AIDS epidemic at its surge. Her team set up clinics, interventions and education sessions to help inform local people about the virus that was affecting 1 in every 4 people around them. At the time she thought she was doing all that she could to help but, looking back, she realized that there was a much larger problem she wasn’t addressing.

Bassett states that “sounding the alarm” is the first step in doing public health properly. She says, that as health professionals, it’s not okay to only treat patients but rather to advocate for change. Discrimination of race, gender, class, etc., exists in the health care environment. In order to help create change within the health care world, people need to come together and rally support for health equity along with speaking out about inequality.

In order to learn more about Bassett’s journey in Zimbabwe and the unjust situations she’s fighting in health care, watch the video below. What can you do as a future medical professional to conquer inequality in health care and help change the system?

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