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Colorado doctor highlights the need for cultural representation in the medical field
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 DENVER — Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Cousar, a pediatric and adult pulmonologist at National Jewish Health, is committed to creating systemic racial change for patients in the medical field. 

For the last two years, Taylor-Cousar has been the interim associate vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at National Jewish Health and is also part of the racial justice working group for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). 

She shared that one of her medical goals is to, “improve the lives of every single person who has a chronic respiratory disease,” with a solid specific emphasis on cystic fibrosis. 

Through CFF, she said she had helped Black patients with cystic fibrosis advocate for themselves and help them identify their symptoms so they can express their pain to their doctor. 

Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Cousar

Local doctor talks about the importance of cultural representation in the medical field.

This past summer, she was the keynote speaker at thewhite coats for black lives "die in" event at CU Anschutz Medical Campus to spread awareness about the health inequities in the American medical system.  

Another passion for Taylor-Cousar is highlighting the importance of representation in the medical field. She shared a childhood memory with Rocky Mountain PBS about a time when she stumbled upon a drawing of a Black doctor taking care of two Black children. 

From there, she said that picture became a motivating factor to become a doctor. “I needed that representation for me to say, ‘Yes, I can do this!’ And so, I think that is critical for young physicians, even high school kids and younger, to see somebody who looks like them who is doing what they might want to do someday," she explained.

To date, Taylor-Cousar has the drawing hanging in her office at National Jewish Health. 

Taylor-Cousar also spoke about a touching moment when a 10-year-old Black girl, a patient of hers, went and told her parents she wanted to be a doctor because of Taylor-Cousar.

[Related:Doctors, medical students aim to inspire the next generation of Black doctors]

“When Black people get into positions of leadership, they have to be willing to speak up because I think there is a lot of fear because of the negativity that occurs when you do that," she said, "but if you get a seat at the table I feel like you are really obligated to help make change."

Lindsey Ford is a multimedia journalist with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at

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