Today, we are taking a break from our normal introductory series post in order to take a stance against systemic racism and white supremacy within the United States. The recent events surrounding our country have left us appalled and frustrated. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor and the numerous other individuals who preceded them cannot be tolerated. We also want to acknowledge that these are just the most recently added names to a long list of black individuals murdered through white supremacy and police brutality. Along with this, the racism and discrimination against black people in America is in no way limited to the justice system, it is pervasive in every social institution in our country. We know we will never understand, but we have been educating ourselves through books, documentaries, and podcasts to better stand as allies for the black community. We are committed to a world where all races are treated equally. Below, we have compiled some of the resources we have been using among others. Further, we briefly discuss the racial disparities seen in healthcare, why they exist, and studies on cultural competency training. 

We hope to continue to learn and help fight alongside the people in our black community 

Organizations to donate to:

George Floyd Memorial Fund – https://gf.me/u/x4xyax
Black Lives Matter – https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
Run With Maud – https://www.runwithmaud.com 
Black Visions Collective – https://www.blackvisionsmn.org 
Reclaim the Block – https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home 
NAACP Legal Defense Fund – https://www.naacpldf.org 

If you don’t have the financial means to donate, but would still like to contribute, you can stream this YouTube video where 100% of the ad revenue is donated to organizations supporting the movement. Not only is this a great (and FREE) way to help, but the video itself is a compilation of black artists sharing their talents. https://youtu.be/bCgLa25fDHM 

Organizations to follow on Instagram:

Reclaim the Block @reclaimtheblock
NAACP @naacp
Black Lives Matter @blklivesmatter
Rachel Cargle @rachel.cargle – especially check out her linktree in her bio!!

Actions to take:

REGISTER TO VOTE and then VOTE. Voting is one of the simplest actions that can lead to the biggest changes 
Check on your black friends, family members, colleagues, service providers, etc. 
Educate yourself and read what it means to be anti-racist 
Open your eyes to white privilege 
Identify and condemn white supremacy, yes even to your family
Be an ally and advocate at all times, not only during this time of outrage
Recognize your own privilege and actively use this privilege to stand up for black people
Participate in your local protests 

Books to read: 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts
Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander 
Divided Sisters by Midge Wilson and Kathy Russel 
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

*If you have the funding, purchase any of these books directly from the authors’ website or from a black owned bookstore. You can make a stronger impact!*

Shows to Watch

13th – Netflix
American Son – Netflix
Dear White People – Netflix
If Beale St. Could Talk – Hulu
Kind in the Wilderness – HBO
See You Yesterday – Netflix
The Hate You Give – Cinemax
When They See Us – Netflix

Podcasts to Listen to: 

1619 – New York Times
Code Switch – NPR
About Race – aboutracepodcast.com
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast

Racial disparities in health care

Health disparities. It does not merely mean a difference or variation in health status. Health disparities denotes social, economic and environmental disadvantages. It unsympathetically affects people based on their ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or their socioeconomic status and disproportionately affects the African American population. 

The concept of health disparities is not new but has recently been highlighted in the current pandemic. COVID-19 has resulted in a disproportionate burden of sickness and death among minority groups. Current data show that not only is there an overrepresentation of black patients in hospitals, but African American populations have the highest death rates compared to Hispanic/Latinos, Asians, and white populations. 

Why do these health disparities exist at all? 

There are many factors that contribute to health disparities within the United States. First, the absence of health equity. Health equity is the notion that everyone is given the opportunity to achieve their optimal health. Racial segregation is still very much prevalent due to tactics like redlining by the Homeowners Loan Corporation, racial restrictive covenants by the Federal Housing Authority, and blockbusting often initiated by realtors and banks. Residential segregation often affects minority access to quality jobs, housing, education, public safety, and social networks because it determines the availability of resources, goods, and services needed to improve life chances. Further, there is a greater time price and mistrust of providers when individuals are forced to seek care outside of their community, which often leads to underutilization of services. Not to mention the prejudice by the health care providers themselves due to a lack of proper diversity training. 

The American Medical Association once defined cultural competency as the “ability to provide patient-centered care by adjusting attitudes and behaviors to account for the impact of social, cultural, economic, and psychological issues on the main biomedical ailment.” However, current cultural competency training is sorely lacking to address all components listed. Instead, they are focused on teaching physicians to treat all patients equally, regardless of race, and are mostly taught by other physicians or healthcare professionals. 

As medical researchers and people who work closely with the medical field, it is our responsibility to address racial disparities in the healthcare system. In Chicago, a recent study resulted in the development of a different approach to cultural competency training for physicians. In this study, a partnership was created between the hospital and the community. The community designated leaders to directly teach physicians-in-training how to handle racial disparities. This approach had benefits beyond creating more socially aware physicians. The community leaders became a source of healthcare information for their neighbors, effectively creating a bridge between the hospital and community. To further promote cultural competency and diversity training, more cities, towns and hospitals could follow this initiative. Further, these types of partnerships can be created outside of the healthcare system. Partnerships between businesses, restaurants, and even partnerships between two people of different backgrounds can result in the same outcome: promoting cultural awareness.

We want to conclude this post by saying that we hold steadfast in our belief that prejudice and discrimination have no place in this world. We urge everyone to educate themselves, stand up for what’s right and speak out for those who have been silenced for far too long. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Megan Tennant, Annah Nieman, Denys Rujchanarong, Laurel Cartwright

Braveman, Paula. “What are health disparities and health equity? We need to be clear.” Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974) vol. 129 Suppl 2,Suppl 2 (2014): 5-8. doi:10.1177/00333549141291S203
Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity. The National Academies Press, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s