Art of Medicine
Dec 2021

Personification of a Duality

Jamaljé Rohnquist Bassue
AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(12):E1004-1005. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2021.1004.


This watercolor self-portrait visually characterizes an irony faced by clinicians who are underrepresented minorities. Tasked with saving patients’ lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, they belong to communities inequitably burdened by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and by many Americans’ unwillingness to follow public health recommendations that would protect them, their communities, and their patients.


Figure. The Duality of the URM



Acryla-gouache and watercolor on 140 lb, cold press paper, 11" x 15".



As medical students, we spend hours upon hours belaboring the pathology and pathophysiology of a host of different disease processes. As an underrepresented minority (URM) student, I spend even more time thinking about how many of these disease processes disproportionately affect people who look like me. I’m forced to think of the possibility of an infectious case involving my mother, my brother, my aunt, or a close friend. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was reminded yet again that COVID-19 is another disease process exacerbating already obvious health care inequities that exist today. This self-portrait represents URM frontline workers who live with the duality of being clinicians who belong to racial and ethnic groups that receive the worst health care.


AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(12):E1004-1005.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The author(s) had no conflicts of interest to disclose. 

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.