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A Piece of My Mind
February 15, 2012

A Perfect Match

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina (

JAMA. 2012;307(7):673. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.139

“Please don't take offense,” Diane said, as she looked away. “But I don't trust black men. They scare me. Especially when they are bigger or darker skinned like you.”

I sat speechless. This seemed like the worst fit imaginable.

I was a few months into my final year of psychiatry training when I met Diane (not her real name), a woman in her late 20s who referred herself to our outpatient clinic. Aside from her age, I knew nothing about her as I prepared to greet her. Unlike most patients I see, she had no paper trail of prior visits to our clinic, nor any notes from other physicians in our hospital database. She was truly a blank slate to me.

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