The Great READ: Reading, Exchange and Dialogue

The resources that have been guiding NICHQ staff on their equity journey 

BooksThought-provoking books, podcasts, and films can pave the way for change by inspiring understanding, compassion, inquiry and conversation. That's why NICHQ’s staff came together to share the resources that have most impacted their understanding of inequities and what’s needed to achieve equity. Below, we share their top picks with hope that this list will support your own personal and professional equity journeys.

We know this list is not all encompassing, in fact it is just a small sample (!), and we are eager to learn from your recommendations. Reach out to us on social media by tagging @NICHQ on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Black Man in a White Coat
Author: Damon Tweedy
Published by: Picador, 2015

In his memoir, Tweedy confronts what it means to be Black, both as patients and as a doctor, within the health care system. From looking at the impact of socioeconomic challenges on Black patients, to sharing his own reflections on the prejudice he encountered as a doctor, Tweedy paints a profound picture of race and inequity within health systems.

Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People
Authors: Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
Published by: Delacorte Press, 2013

Banaji and Greenwald explore how our unconscious perceptions about social groups shape our attitudes, and identify opportunities to acknowledge and address our hidden biases.

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Published by: Spiegel & Grau, 2015
This non-fiction read non-fiction is written as a letter to the author's teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States. Coates recapitulates American history and explains to his son the "racist violence that has been woven into American culture."

Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Author: Jonah Berger
Published by: S
imon & Schuster, 2013
This book on behavioral economics reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission and how social influence shapes nearly everything in our lives. 

Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric (Film)
By: Katie Couric
Produced by: National Geographic and World of Wonder, 2017
This film explores the importance of equity in child health related to gender discovery among children. Couric helps the audience "define" gender and speaks to the science and social-emotional aspects of a child's journey.

How to Be an Antiracist 
Ibram X. Kendi
Published by: Penguin Random House LLC., 2019
he book discusses concepts of racism and Kendi's proposals for anti-racist individual actions and systemic changes. Kendi employs history, science, and ethics to describe different forms of racism; at the same time, he follows the events and experiences of his own life, adapting a memoir approach that personalizes his arguments.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Published by: Crown Publishing Group, 2010

Henrietta Lacks was a Southern tobacco farmer whose ancestors were enslaved. Her cells were taken without her consent and ultimately changed the face of modern medicine and saved countless lives; yet Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave and her family never saw any of the profits from the multi-million-dollar industry her cells launched.

Makes Me Wanna Holler
Author: Nathan McCall
Published by: Vintage Books USA, 1995

Washington Post Reporter Nathan McCall shares his story, which illustrates the impact of implicit bias across his lifespan from his childhood to his career as a journalist.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Author: Layla Saad
Published by: Sourcebooks USA, 2020

This eye-opening book challenges readers to do the essential work of unpacking ourbiases, take action, and dismantle the privilege within ourselves to prevent inflicting damage on people of color.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present
Author: Harriet A. Washington
Published by: Doubleday, 2007

A comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans, detailing atrocities beginning before enslavement continuing to present day.

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
Author: Andrian Nicole LeBlanc
Published by: Scribner, 2004

A true story that illustrates the realities of people living through poverty and the systems that perpetuate it across generations. Written without judgement and with raw honesty, Leblanc captures so much complexity that would otherwise be impossible to understand unless you've lived through it.

So You Want to Talk About Race
Ijeoma Oluo
Published by: Basic Books, 2018
Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City
Author: Mona Hanna-Attisha
Published by: One World, 2018

The story of the Flint Michigan water crisis told by the pediatrician who helped uncover the crisis reveals the dire consequences of system and policy failures. A reminder of the tremendous difference we can make in public health.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
Author: Isabel Wilkerson
Published by: Random House, 2010

Covering interviews with over a thousand people, Wilkerson shares the Pulitzer Prize winning story of the millions of Black citizens who moved across the country attempting to flee the racism and inequities they were experiencing in the South.

Whatever it Takes
Author: Paul Tough
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008

In 1970, Geoffrey Canada launched the Harvard Children’s Zone, a social experiment seeking to end generational poverty in Harlem. Tough explores the project’s impact and findings, looking at the impact and intersections between race, poverty, and education.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Author: Robin DiAngelo
Published by: Beacon Press, 2018
In his deep dive into what it means to be white, DiAngelo explores how the feelings brought on by whiteness—including guilt and shame—can ultimately perpetuate structures that support disparities.

Other Media

American Son (Film)
Directed by: Kenny Leon
Produced by: Netflix, 2019

Time passes and tension mounts in a Florida police station as an interracial couple awaits news of their missing teenage son.

Code Switch (Podcast)
Produced by NPR, 2016-Present
What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on, exploring how race impacts every part of society, from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.

The Fire Next Time
By: James Baldwin
Produced by: NPR, 2016-Present
This 1963 non-fiction book contains two essays: "My Dungeon Shook: Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation" and "Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region of My Mind".

Nice White Parents (Podcast)
By: Chana Joffe-Walt
Produced by: The New York Times, 2020

When Chana Joffe-Walt, a reporter, looked at inequality in education, she saw that most reforms focused on who schools were failing: Black and brown kids. But what about who the schools are serving? In this five-part series, she turns her attention to what is arguably the most powerful force in our schools: White parents.

Seeing White (Podcast)
Editor: Loretta Williams
Published by: Scene on Radio, 2017

A 14-part documentary series that dives into the concept of “whiteness,” its origins, and its consequences.

13th (Film)
Directed by: 
Ava DuVernay
Produced by: Forward Movement and Kandoo Films, 2020
This captivating documentary provides and in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.   

The 1619 Project (Podcast)
Directed by
 Nikole Hannah-Jones
Produced by The New York Times Magazine, 2019- Present
This project was developed to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the United States' national narrative.