'White Coats for Black Lives': Suburban health care workers show support for racial justice

  • Physicians and other staff members at Elmhurst Hospital kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement Friday afternoon. They were joined by their colleagues at Edward Hospital in Naperville and others across the suburbs.

    Physicians and other staff members at Elmhurst Hospital kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement Friday afternoon. They were joined by their colleagues at Edward Hospital in Naperville and others across the suburbs. Courtesy of Edward-Elmhurst Health

  • Doctors at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield showed their support Friday for the nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    Doctors at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield showed their support Friday for the nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Courtesy of Dhruvil Pandya

  • Dr. Dhruvil Pandya, an interventional neuroradiology physician, and Dr. Morlie Wang, diagnostic radiology, show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement outside Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital with a sign that says, "White Coats for Black Lives."

    Dr. Dhruvil Pandya, an interventional neuroradiology physician, and Dr. Morlie Wang, diagnostic radiology, show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement outside Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital with a sign that says, "White Coats for Black Lives." Courtesy of Dhruvil Pandya

  • Doctors, nurses and other staff members held up signs of peace and love as they knelt outside Elmhurst Hospital on Friday afternoon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Doctors, nurses and other staff members held up signs of peace and love as they knelt outside Elmhurst Hospital on Friday afternoon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Courtesy of Edward-Elmhurst Health

 
 
Updated 6/5/2020 5:32 PM

When the clock struck noon Friday, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff members from all specialties gathered on the lawn outside Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

They held a moment of silence to remember victims of racial injustice. They read poems out loud. And then they knelt in solidarity with the nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"The energy was just tremendous," said Dr. Dhruvil Pandya, an interventional neuroradiology physician. "You could see it on everyone's faces -- the compassion, the empathy. It was just fantastic to see."

Similar scenes played out at hospitals across the suburbs as health care workers showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement with an initiative of their own: "White Coats for Black Lives."

In the Edward-Elmhurst Health system, roughly 200 physicians and staff members held signs and knelt outside their hospitals in Naperville and Elmhurst. Employees of Advocate Aurora Health showed their support in parking lots, hallways, waiting rooms and hospital lobbies.

The hospital demonstrations have been spreading nationwide, catching fire on social media and sparking interest among doctors at Central DuPage, said Dr. Shivani Desai, a neonatologist and chairwoman of the hospital's physician wellness committee. Not only did participants want to join in the fight for racial equality, she said, but they also wanted to show support for their black colleagues.

"It's just a small gesture for people to know that health care providers are providing their support," Pandya said. "I think it goes a long way."

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