Activist Profile: Susan Eder, MD, Raleigh

“I was arrested on December 16th at the General Assembly Building in Raleigh, while fighting to protect democracy in this state. The charges were singing, chanting and yelling, all activities I believe to be protected by the First Amendment.”

Dr. Susan Eder continues in her letter to the editor published by The News & Observer on December 27th, “I am a physician, parent, wife and quarter-century resident of this state. I was arrested with professors, a college student, a successful realtor, several members of the clergy, an attorney, a mother of young children and businesswomen. All are decent, honest, hardworking North Carolinians. It was an honor to sit with them in the Wake County detention center.”

This is not the first time Dr. Eder has been arrested while advocating for justice and equity.  Dr. Eder is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a strong advocate for healthcare justice, and in 2013, she was arrested during a Moral Monday demonstration in Raleigh.  One recent International Human Rights Day, physicians, clergy and civil rights leaders gathered at the state General Assembly to accuse Republican lawmakers of violating the human rights of half a million people. To deny healthcare is a direct violation of Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Speaking at the protest, Dr. Eder said, “Medicaid expansion is what the United Nations had in mind when they passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

In a 2015 article titled “Off the Couch and into the Streets: Psychotherapy and Political Activism,” Dr. Eder argued that activism is a form of empathy in action and is a natural extension of her work as a therapist.  Dr. Eder is motivated to ‘get off the couch’ because she believes strongly that everyone is entitled to comprehensive, affordable health care.  She also sees the rights to reproductive care, including  abortion, that her mother’s generation fought so hard for, being systematically eroded.  She believes women have a right to determine what is best for their bodies and their families without government interference.

Dr. Eder is a leader of NC White Coats Supporting Healthcare for All, a coalition of healthcare professionals concerned with ensuring all of North Carolina's citizens have access to affordable, quality healthcare.  Members march and protest wearing their white coats to show support for healthcare for all and public policy that protects vulnerable patients.

When asked “What issues are crucial to you to bring our society closer to justice and equity for all?” Dr. Eder replied, “Health care, health care, health care! And voting rights, and reproductive rights, and LGBT rights, and economic equality, and fair wages, too.”


To learn more about NC White Coats Support Healthcare for All, please visit their Facebook page.