Joel gives his thoughts on chapter 17.
Dirty White Boy
This chapter appears to be about Dr Grubbs making the leap from fellow to attending. She knows what type of nephrology career she wants, she wants to be a clinical researcher with protected time away from clinical responsibilities in order to pursue her research into dialysis, transplant, and the influence that race has on access to transplant. This is the question that drove her to nephrology in the first place.
Dr. Grubbs does a great job coloring in the details of how a person navigates to become a clinical researcher. Much of this hangs on getting the right mentor to help her with grants. Grubbs is sophisticated in her search and initially pairs with Yin Liu. This mentor-mentee relationship does not blossom and after a couple of years she needs to find someone else. When Grubbs looks into why the mentorship fails, what the chapter is actually about comes into focus.
Grubbs is researching how the kidney transplant system disadvantages black people. Inherent in this research is a critique in the fairness of the transplant system being implemented by the transplant team in her department. When her peers in the nephrology department read her research they are the subjects of the critique.
She wanted to show people how the system they were in was imperfect and needed to be fixed but the transplanters felt like she was rubbing their nose in it.
Grubbs doesn't find much resolution to this problem. The chapter feels like an acknowledgment that what she is doing will make her unpopular and keep her separated from her peers. She takes solace in that she is doing this in the name of truth and in the name of all the patients that are looking for justice in the transplant system.