Mother-Daughter Docs Talk On NPR About Overcoming Racism

By James T. Mulder
Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dr. Sharon Brangman and her daughter, Dr. Jenna Lester, discuss how race and gender have affected their careers in an episode of “StoryCorps” which airs today on National Public Radio.

SYRACUSE, N.Y.

Dr. Sharon Brangman, the head of geriatric medicine at Upstate Medical University, used to think the racism and sexism she’s battled throughout her career would vanish by the time her children grew up.

Now that her 29-year-old daughter is a doctor training to be a dermatologist in California, Brangman realizes she was overly optimistic.

“You think this should be over by now, but it’s still happening in my daughter’s generation,” she says.

Brangman and her daughter, Dr. Jenna Lester, discuss how race and gender have affected their careers in an episode of “StoryCorps” which airs today on National Public Radio and is available on NPR’s website.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit that gives people the opportunity to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. The unstructured conversations are archived in the National Library of Congress. NPR airs some of the segments.

Brangman, 62, of Syracuse, was asked to share her story on StoryCorps by Danielle Roth, a Syracuse University graduate.

Roth is a former StoryCorps intern now working as an audio producer at Vanity Fair. While she was at SU, Roth interviewed Brangman for the book,”Triple triumph,” the story of Brangman and two other pioneering women doctors at Upstate — Ruth Weinstock, a diabetes expert, and Patricia Numann, a breast cancer surgeon. SU published that book online last fall.

In the book, Brangman says people sometimes assume she’s not a doctor because she’s a black woman.
As a result, hospital visitors have asked her to empty bed pans. A nurse once snatched a patient chart from Brangman’s hand and told her, “You have no right to look at that.”

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