Dr. Charles Wood, now a radiation oncologist at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, thought he was communicating well with all his patients while in training in Philadelphia a decade ago. But he found that twice as many non-white than white patients there believed they'd been treated in a clinical trial unknowingly.

Language is and always will be an essential element in the struggle for understanding among peoples. Changes in the words and phrases we use to describe each other reflect whatever progress we make on the path toward a world where everyone feels respected and included.