Medicine and Justice Scholars: Discussion with Dereck Paul, MS4

In our second Medicine and Justice Scholars (MJS) event on November 12th, NSS welcomed Dereck Paul, a fourth year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco. Dereck Paul studies the relationships between homelessness and health under his mentors at the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations and was named a 2018 Student National Medical Association David E. Satcher MD, PhD Health Disparities Research Fellow for his work mapping the role of structural racism in susceptibility to housing insecurity and homelessness. His presentation  revolved around the history of racial disparities in those who experience homelessness and the associated poor health outcomes. Dereck Paul also introduced the HOPE-HOME Study (Oakland, CA),  which aimed to discover the role of structural racism in the life course of older adults experiencing homelessness. His study created a structural map of how various elements of structural racism, such as criminal justice discrimination, employment discrimination, premature death, exposure to violence, and limited family wealth increased susceptibility to homelessness, adding to existing rhetoric suggesting that  racism and disadvantage are ingrained in American institutions.  

After Dereck Paul’s presentation, we engaged in a Q&A session from our undergraduate participants. Our speaker responded to questions about the “War on Drugs”,  medicine as responsive rather than preventative, and the scarce mention of structural racism in current medical school curriculum. He also offered advice on applying to medical school, encouraging the audience to let their passions drive their purpose. 

NSS would like to thank Dereck Paul and our undergraduate students who joined us for our MJS event surrounding structural racism, housing insecurity, and homelessness. We look forward to engaging in future discussions among our communities surrounding social justice and medicine.