ASME Celebrates Black History Month

ASME Black History Month logo

Dr Riya Elizabeth George

Black History Month is a compelling and necessary time to draw attention to, reflect upon and celebrate the incredible achievements of Black African and Caribbean communities. This annual celebration started over a hundred years ago in the United States of America with the aim to amplify Black voices and stories and understand the ways in which they have shaped our historical narratives. It was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987 and although we take this moment to honour Black cultural heritage and consider ways to pursue anti-racist initiatives, we aim to embed these practices as a year-round endeavour.

Black History Month has a great significance and deep meaning that is especially relevant in healthcare as we continue to care for people from every race and culture. More recently, the Windrush generation and the Black Lives Matter movement has further intensified the importance of paying homage to Black leaders and their accomplishments and to consider how our own biases and prejudices affect the healthcare we deliver.

Dr. Riya George, ASME EDI Lead
Dr. Riya George

This communication piece actively intends to provide an assortment of stimulating resources to educate our healthcare communities on the rich and diverse history of Black cultural heritage, to celebrate the triumphs of Black individuals in healthcare, spotlight organisations working to support Black communities and to showcase the latest research and scholarship on this topic.

For the month of October, the ASME logo on our website and official ASME email correspondence will reflect the vibrant colours honouring Black History Month. Together with artists, Aran Illingworth and Alban Low, ASME has created a graphical booklet showcasing a selection of influential Black pioneers in medicine and healthcare over the last 50 years with the organisation, Melanin Medics. Oyinda Adeniyi, Black African, fourth-year medical student from Hull York Medical School has provided a narrated account of this booklet and shares her personal thoughts on the importance of Black History Month.

From Louis Wade Sullivan in 1978 who founded the first predominantly Black medical school in the United States to Bola Owolabi; the recently appointed Director of Healthcare Inequalities at NHS England, this resource is a historical compass in providing an insight into the richness of Black history in healthcare.

Celebrating Black History in Medicine and Healthcare
View the booklet
Oyinda Adeniyi
Watch Oyinda Adeniyi's YouTube video

Contributions Booklet

Engaging with history is often a way to better understand our present circumstances and an opportunity to re-imagine what possibilities lie ahead. At ASME we envision a future where diversity in medicine and healthcare is thriving and to better understand how we can achieve this, we gathered perspectives from Black African and Caribbean healthcare professionals and academics, both nationally and internationally to provide their thoughts on how we can attract more diversity in medical education.

Click on the button below to read their valuable contributions which will be shared on ASME’s social media platforms throughout the month of October. If you are on Twitter (@asmeofficial), join us in using the hashtag #ASMEBHM in sharing your perspectives. In creating these booklets, our collaborating artists have used the analogy of the ‘domino effect’ to capture the knock-on, trailblazing impact these individuals have made in creating a more diverse and inclusive healthcare environment.


Melanin Medics Logo

ASME was delighted to collaborate with Melanin Medics; a growing charitable organisation for present and future African and Caribbean doctors in creating the resources above. From the Melanin Medics podcast to upcoming events, Olamide Dada, the founder of the organisation shares more information below about the impactful work of this charity and how to get involved.

Check out their website at or find them on Twitter @MelaninMedics for more information.

African Carribbean Medical Mentors (ACMM) logo

The importance of mentors and physically seeing Black academics represented in medical and healthcare education was a recurring theme shared by our contributors. The African Caribbean Medical Mentors (ACMM) is another innovative charity with the active intention to improve the representation of Black academics in medicine and dentistry.

Founded in 2017 by Monique Wheatle and Shikila Edward, a member of their organisation; Charles Carey has provided a guest contribution piece to raise awareness of this charity’s mission. More information can be found on their website; or through their social media platforms (@acmedicalmentor).

Monique Wheatle
Monique Wheatle
Charles Carey
Charles Carey

Wiley Special Virtual Issue

The richness of experiences and perspectives from Black African and Caribbean communities can often get lost in catch-all acronyms such as BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) or BME (Black, Minority Ethnic). The term BAME was impossible to ignore during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as new feeds and social media platforms were inundated with reports highlighting that BAME individuals were dying at disproportionate rates. Later reports showed that mortality rates from COVID-19 were even more pronounced for those in the Black communities.

However, these experiences were subsumed and diluted within the broad racial category of BAME. The ASME Journals, Medical Education and The Clinical Teacher have created a special virtual issue titled ‘Remembering the ‘ME’ in BAME’ to showcase a selection of the latest research and scholarship exploring the use of the term BAME and its associated concepts such as race and ethnicity. Furthermore, in honour of Black History Month, it presents a collection of papers examining the distinct experiences of Black individuals in healthcare.

Our aim in this virtual issue is to encourage meaningful conversations about race and ethnicity; recognising the diversity within these communities and raising awareness to the criticisms the term BAME has received from the very people it seeks to describe. It hopes to follow current debates stemming from COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement in considering a more thoughtful approach to how language about and for diverse communities is used in the future.

Check out the link below to access this exciting, new virtual issue and share what you have learn with us on social media using @ClinicalTeacher and @MedEd_Journal.

Understanding Race & Ethnicity

Black History Month continues to highlight the importance of having meaningful conversations about race and encourages curiosity into learning about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes.

Esther Adeyemi, a Black African, fifth year medical student at Queen Mary University of London created the poignant poem titled ‘Let’s talk about Race’ to illustrate her experiences about having conversations on this topic. Take a moment to read and reflect on this personal account and ask yourself how you can facilitate more meaningful conversations about race at your institution.

The ASME resource on understanding race and ethnicity signposts to a collection of useful resources to help you in maturing these conversations.

TASME Podcast

Listen to the TASME TiME podcast episode on Decolonising Medical Education with Lara Akinnawonu and Dr Yvonne Mbaki.

TASME Black History Month 2022 Podcast

When we can use our history to make better our future, we have the power to inspire future generations. We hope the compilation of resources in this piece has inspired you to learn more about Black History and encouraged you to have meaningful conversations about race. Join ASME in celebrating Black History Month this October.

As part of ASME’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy we actively aim to start and continue meaningful conversations about diversity issues in medicine and healthcare. Throughout the year we will be exploring how we can celebrate and support individuals from culturally diverse, under-represented and marginalised backgrounds. If you would like to find out more information about ASME’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy, please contact us on