Nursing Education & Events

Book Club: Body & Soul: The Black Panther Party & the Fight Against Medical Discrimination
Saturday, March 13 2021, 9:00-10:30 am, Zoom,


“Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination” by Alondra Nelson. Participants will receive a copy of the book then meet for a facilitated discussion.

Between its founding in 1966 and its formal end in 1980, the Black Panther Party blazed a distinctive trail in American political culture. The Black Panthers are most often remembered for their revolutionary rhetoric and militant action. Here Alondra Nelson deftly recovers an indispensable but lesser-known aspect of the organization's broader struggle for social justice: health care. The Black Panther Party's health activism--its network of free health clinics, its campaign to raise awareness about genetic disease, and its challenges to medical discrimination--was an expression of its founding political philosophy and also a recognition that poor blacks were both underserved by mainstream medicine and overexposed to its harms.

Drawing on extensive historical research as well as interviews with former members of the Black Panther Party, Nelson argues that the Party's focus on health care was both practical and ideological. Building on a long tradition of medical self-sufficiency among African Americans, the Panthers' People's Free Medical Clinics administered basic preventive care, tested for lead poisoning and hypertension, and helped with housing, employment, and social services. In 1971, the party launched a campaign to address sickle-cell anemia. In addition to establishing screening programs and educational outreach efforts, it exposed the racial biases of the medical system that had largely ignored sickle-cell anemia, a disease that predominantly affected people of African descent.

The Black Panther Party's understanding of health as a basic human right and its engagement with the social implications of genetics anticipated current debates about the politics of health and race. That legacy--and that struggle--continues today in the commitment of health activists and the fight for universal health care.

Discussion Facilitator: 

Doris M. Boutain, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, John and Marguerite Walker Corbally Professor in Public Service, University of Washington and Associate Professor, Child, Family & Population Health, UW School of Nursing. While others talk about wanting change, Dr. Boutain is known for leading change by developing innovative strategies for community and population health. A review of social justice approaches in nursing education distinguished Dr. Boutain as an international expert in the field of health equity using socially just care approaches. She’s looking forward to facilitating a discussion of this important book and how lessons learned apply to nursing practice.

She’s looking forward to facilitating a discussion of this important book and how lessons learned apply to nursing practice.

Who Should Participate:

Registered Nurses. Due to limited capacity, we are unable to accommodate nursing students at this event.

Cost: KCNA Members: $20, $40 Nonmembers.

Registration Deadline:

February 22, 2021 or until full.  Register early, we have limited the attendance for this event to 40 participants in order to create an intimate book club discussion format.


•Participants will receive a Zoom link invitation prior to the event.

•Upon evaluation submission, participants will receive a certificate of completion for 1.5 hours that meets the continuing competency requirement for license renewal in Washington State

• Books will be mailed upon registration, beginning February 1, 2021.

•Supporting funds for this event are provided by Salal Credit Union