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South African cardiology journal vows to grow Black authorship

Image: Taymaz Valley [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Editor calls racism in medicine and science a ‘defining challenge of our time’

The South African Heart Journal will take steps to increase Black authorship through commissioned content and outreach, its editor has said. 

On 5 November its editor, Ntobeko Ntusi, pledged that the journal will also work to diversify its pool of referees, and to identify and support research that addresses racial disparities in science and medicine. 

Ntusi, who heads the University of Cape Town’s Department of Medicine, warned in an editorial that “systemic bias and structural inequality, including within medicine, are one of the defining public health challenges of our time”. 

Black people are still under-represented in clinical trials, he writes, and inequalities and biases disproportionately affect the health of Black people. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this problem “into stark focus” since “Black people are dying disproportionately relative to other groups”, he adds.

He calls on South African researchers to do more to combat inequality and racism. 

“As academics and scientists, we need to rise to resist injustice and to rebuild a future that is rooted in human rights and true equality. We must cherish the principles of equality, diversity, globalism, empathy and restorative justice,” he writes.