The problem with racism and medicine

The recent killing of unarmed black citizens, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd has opened the eyes of many people in America and around the world, of the unjust behaviors in the police force. There are also many other areas of unconscious bias, Minorities are unemployed at higher rates than whites, one statistic shows from 2007 to 2019 "Black unemployment in Maryland was 1.2 times the white unemployment rate in that state, while in both Indiana and South Carolina the black unemployment rate was 1.3 times the white unemployment rate. Meanwhile, the largest gap was in the District of Columbia, where the black unemployment rate was 6.5 times the white rate. The next highest unemployment ratios were in Mississippi (2.6-to-1), Delaware, Florida, Illinois, and Louisiana (all 2.5-to-1). The schools systems have also created unjust biases with black children in poorer neighborhoods, not having the same quality of education or access as their white counter parts, in the same school district. But what about in the medical world? What are the hidden forms of racism and bias that may jeopardize black people's health? With Black doctors in 2018 making up approximately 5% of the work force, according to AAMC, "Among active physicians, 56.2% identified as White, 17.1% identified as Asian, 5.8% identified as Hispanic, and 5.0% identified as Black or African American.". Racism is a health crisis and interferes with quality and competent care. Some ways to increase better outcomes is to increase advocates that look like them.

Lack of Black Medical Advocates:

1. Not enough black administration at hospitals and nursing facilities. We need to be at the table as change agents and advocates for the health of our black communities who are already at a disadvantage not because of their health but because of the substandard care they may receive due to bias.

2. Black providers such as doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, should be in long term positions and not in swing door positions, because of racial bias. I have heard of so many false complaints from co-workers and those that were unhappy with a certain thing about a black provider they didn't like, and not their performance. The same bias would not fly with a white counterpart who has the ability to have much more leniency with their superiors.

3. There should also should be an avenue to include more black professors in medical schools and academia: According to Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) blacks lag behind as educators, "Medical school faculty continued to be predominantly White (63.9%) and male (58.6%) overall", The same holds true for the workforce, "Similar to faculty composition, most active physicians were White (56.2%) and male (64.1%)"

Franklin County, in Columbus Ohio, determined to do something about this unjust area, and stated " Racism has officially been declared a public health crisis in Ohio's largest county".

Yes, we all know that unequal rights and justice poses a problem for some, but actually it poses a problem for all. You see when you decide to do away with the very best education, or put policies in place that works for some and not all, not only are you putting a lid on some people's potential directly, but indirectly you hamper the potential of the greater good, your organization, the country and the world. Some, answers are found in the most brilliant people labelled worthless due to their skin color, stereotype or economic status. That future scientist who has the cure for cancer maybe living in the lowest area of the city, but because of their skin color, they will not be recognized for their brilliance and worse yet railroaded into the prison system. They also, may be denied the proper education or medical care just because they are black. So we wait longer and suffer undoubtedly because we can't get pass our pride and prejudice.

We can't keep waiting for a just system, we must demand it. Write to your local medical schools, hospitals or medical organizations and inquire about who is sitting on the boards, and how diverse is their lead positions? If we keep doing the same old thing, we will get the same old answer. As always we are here to support all communities and we are at the fore front with advocating for the Black community. Affordable and excellent care, make your appointment today


Harris Healthcare, LLC

West Chester, OH 45071

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