The Uneven Playing Field in Healthcare

Deb introduces the topic of healthcare disparity and realizing what it will take to combat racial inequality in medicine.

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Interesting article. As one who has worked in inner city ERs in years past during med school and residency, no doubt the statistics are true, but the causes are complex and have little to do with racism within the ERs themselves, but rather the economic and opportunity limitations created by the social system, or systemic racism. Minority communities generally lack access to primary care, so the ER becomes their family doctor. When anyone goes to the ER for a sore throat, they wait while the broken bones, GSWs, and heart attacks are seen. Inner city ERs are overcrowded as a result, and are often asssociated with large hospital trauma centers, which results in more delays. More affluent patients may have the option of going to a walk in clinic for the same thing, but those facilities generally require payment and do not take government assistance (Medicaid). Culturally, there is also still an element of distrust of medical care in some, understandably so given the history of things like the Muskogee experiment. This often delays care and makes wellness and preventative care less effective. Diet also influences disease, as does work in hazardous occupations.
No doubt we as a society can do better. It will take economic measures, educational measures, and legislative measures to do so.

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Minorities, for good reason, often feel more comfortable if a member of their group is in leadership.

In Detroit, I attended a church for some time whose interim Pastor was black. It was very well mixed . Interestingly, in Acts of the Apostles when the Greek widows were overlooked in the distribution of Bread, the apostles elected seven men with Greek names to oversee the distribution of bread.

National Public Radio recently ran an article about how Healthcare improves when minorities have someone of their own ethnic group to match with. The reasons are complex, and can’t be all laid at one single cause I agree.

Hopefully, we can learn by degrees.

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absolutely! My husband also just attended a conference that had a big plenary session on racism in medicine, on the individual level between all parties (patients to providers, providers to patients, provider to provider) as well as the systemic parts. He said it was really interesting.

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