The Commonplace of GW Hospital


The George Washington University Hospital posted the above video on their YouTube channel to provide a short explanation of their hospital for prospective and current patients and their friends/family.  The video, posted on July 16, 2013, shows clips of the surrounding city of DC, as well as dramatizations of surgeries and patient/doctor interactions. The most interesting to note for our purposes, however, is the use of diversity in this “ad” (or lack thereof). My original essay, centered around the racial inclusion of GW Hospital’s website can be easily extended to encompass how GW Hospital represents themselves on other platforms. To be completely fair, it must be noted that this video was produced about 4 years ago, while the website is updated regularly, so the comparison is not completely 1:1. Yet, this video is the only one which GWH has released that could be taken as an overall ad for the hospital, so they haven’t felt a need to change their representation. As for content, this video does include some minorities- but barely. There are three different clips which show woman of color assisting in a medically professional role. However, the majority of people in these clips are white. Those in roles of highest prestige (the main doctors/surgeons), are white males. This closely represents the image which GWH gave off on their website. Even all of the patients being treated are white. The woman of color (there’s also possibly an asian woman featured but it’s difficult to tell) are assisting the doctor(s). It seems that the overall message from this video is to focus on the excellence of the health care provided, rather than the inclusivity of the staff and patients. This is neither “good” not “bad”, just an observation. Its also important to note that there is some attempt at inclusion- this video is not simply black and white (no pun intended).

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