Jamal Williams and Megan Conrow-Graham are doctoral students at the Jacobs School of Medicine hosting “Reclaim the Bench”.
BUFFALO, New York – Amid a global pandemic and racial calculation, doctoral students Jamal Williams and Megan Conrow-Graham had an idea. During their time at the University of the Jacobs School of Medicine in Buffalo, they spoke frequently about the medical field and the complicated ways in which women and people of color were neglected or abused. They wanted to find a way to share the conversations they were having with each other, with some of their peers.
“Since we were friends, we’ve always had conversations about race and social justice,” Conrow-Graham told Karys Belger of 2 On Your Side.
She explained that the heightened awareness of racial injustice in 2020 prompted them to consider sharing the information they would discuss with each other on a regular basis.
“We were looking for a way to be part of this movement for social justice and to use our expertise in science and medicine to draw attention to these stories.”
Conrow-Graham says the idea for the podcast started out as a joke, but the idea got serious when they quickly realized they couldn’t find a podcast specifically dedicated to the topics they were interested in.
After talking with their family and peers, they came up with “Reclaim the Bench”. The “bench,” Williams explained, is where medical research takes place.
The podcast explores topics such as the discriminatory practices practiced by physicians to the triumphs of little-known figures in medical history. The first season includes episodes about controversial characters like J. Marion Sims and unsung heroes like Dr. Charles Drew.
Willaims told 2 On Your Side that the goal is to educate and empower those who listen.
“Our podcast’s mission is to uncover these historical roots to educate people about why we may encounter these types of gaps in healthcare today,” he said.
They hope that people will continue to listen, to be enlightened, and to think seriously about their own well-being.
Williams and Conrow-Graham are currently recording the second season of Reclaim the Bench and hope to release new episodes later this month. All their current episodes are available on most streaming platforms.