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Sidra Khan-Gökkaya

2023–24 German Harkness Fellow; Integration and Antiracism Officer, University Medical Center Hamburg–Eppendorf 

Photo, headshot of Sidra Khan-Gökkaya

Placement: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Mentor: David Williams, Ph.D., Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Project: Racism in Health Care — A Study of Systemic Changes and Institutional Policies to Advance Health Equity in the United States and Germany

Sidra Khan-Gökkaya, Ph.D., M.A., is a 2023–24 German Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice. She is currently an integration and antiracism officer in the University Medical Center Hamburg–Eppendorf. In this role, she is responsible for the implementation and oversight of organizational interventions that reduce racial disparities and promote (health) equity among employees and patients. Khan-Gökkaya is a systemic counselor, trainer, and speaker on racism in health care. She is an advisor for health facilities, health care professionals, communities, and policymakers across Germany. She was appointed as an expert for antidiscrimination and antiracism for the Integration Advisory Board of the Federal State of Hamburg and is passionate about raising awareness on inequalities in health care and fostering systemic change. As part of her Ph.D. studies, she developed a framework for the labor market participation of refugee health professionals within the German health care system. Through this, she identified barriers that prevent refugee health professionals from pursuing such careers and addressed organizational and institutional responsibilities to overcome them. Khan-Gökkaya earned her Ph.D. at the University of Hamburg and her M.A. in international migration and intercultural studies at the University of Osnabrück.

Project Overview: Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified inequalities in health care. Racism is one cause of such inequalities that disadvantage Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the United States and Germany. To advance health equity and ensure an equitable health care system for marginalized groups, it is necessary to implement systemic change, but international studies indicate there is little evidence of antiracist interventions in organizations and through policies, as well as limited data on their effectiveness.

This research aims to identify antiracist interventions on a systemic level. In doing so, interventions within organizations will be analyzed. A literature review and document analysis are used to identify institutions and facilities (case studies) beforehand. In the second phase, interviews with key stakeholders (e.g., managers or equity officers) will be conducted. These interviews will provide an in-depth understanding of the framework of antiracist interventions, their success factors, obstacles in implementing them, and their efficiency. The results from this research will be used to derive recommendations and inspire policymakers and providers toward equity-oriented health care. The overarching goal of the proposed research is to contribute to a paradigm shift in Germany and Europe more broadly and enrich a previously deficit-oriented perspective on the topic with important approaches and solutions. It will also increase the geopolitical relevance of the interventions in the US and enable cross-border exchange and partnerships.