The Quest for Knowledge

Learning from the past, and present, is key to achieving justice in health for all.

by Joy Howard

The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, 1920

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.

–The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In the spring of 2020, our team launched a deep dive into injustice in health. We plumbed untold histories and learned countless heartbreaking stories, pored over statistics on racial health and wealth inequities, interviewed dozens of experts, read scores of books and articles, and much more.

This magazine contains a tiny fraction of the stories we could tell about injustice and inequalities in health. And even as there is much more to say, there is even more to learn. This pursuit of knowledge is a defining feature of academic medicine—and the key to achieving justice in health for all.

However shocking it is to read some of these stories, we know it is far more challenging to be living them. We are deeply moved and inspired by the brave, exhausting, paradigm-shifting work that our Brigham colleagues are leading to bring us closer to health equity. As a measure of our profound gratitude and awe, we dedicate this magazine to them.


Joy Howard
Managing Editor