Healthcare Equality Activist and Spoken Word Artist Oscar Bruce Challenges TEDxAdelphiUniversity Audience to 'Let Your Confidence Be Your Form of Advocacy'

Oscar Bruce TEDx Talk

​Spoken word artist and healthcare equality activist Oscar Bruce held the rapt attention of an audience of about 200 on Friday, March 9 with a TEDx talk on race and healthcare at the campus of Adelphi University.

His theme — delivered through a unique blend of conversational storytelling and hip-hop-tinged poetry — was one you don’t hear talked about much: the disparity between black and white Americans’ experience of healthcare, and what black patients and their families can do about it.

Don't let decisions be made that confuse and trouble you.

Oscar Bruce, Community Organizer, ASK for Your Life Campaign

Bruce is a community organizer for the ASK for Your Life Campaign, an educational/motivational outreach of the Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy’s Healthcare Equality Project. His mission: to let African-Americans know that their communities have a health care problem — Bruce quotes general statistics showing poorer treatment results for black than for non-black patients — but that using techniques proven by patient advocates, they can reduce the effects of subconscious bias in the medical profession.

Mutual Respect and Trust

These techniques are similar to those taught in Pulse’s other patient safety training programs, but with an emphasis on building a relationship of mutual respect and trust that will help individualize the patient in the clinician’s eyes, and vice-versa. And repeatedly he advised the audience not to be afraid to ask questions of the doctor.

He cited a case in which a woman was told she needed surgery, agreed to it without inquiring further and was later surprised to learn that she’d had a hysterectomy. “Partner in your health care,” he advised. “Share thoughts with them. Talk with them. Don’t let decisions be made that confuse and trouble you.”

Continuing the work

Dr. Leslie Farrington, Co-Founder of the ASK for Your Life Campaign, notes that “A grant currently supports Bruce's inspiring presentations to African-American communities. We have launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help us continue this important work. Anyone reading this, please visit”

Bruce is available to present 90-minute ASK For Your Life community workshops. Call (516) 579-4711.

Source: Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy