Study Finds Racism and Discrimination in Health Care Can Impact Treatment Decisions

A new study has found that Black patients often have a different medical experience than White patients due to discrimination and inequities in health care settings. 

The survey from health news site Verywell Health reports 32% of Black Americans say they’ve experienced racism while dealing with the health care system, and 59% say racism caused them to stop or interrupt their treatment, whether that meant changing health care providers, not making a follow-up appointment or delaying making a health decision.

Dr. Jessica Shepherd, Verywell Health’s chief medical officer and former director of minimally invasive gynecology at the University of Illinois Chicago, said the survey was intended to focus on the health care experience of Black patients.

“Now, we have a lot of data that shows where those discrepancies and where those health care disparities are, but we haven’t really had good data on why that experience is within the Black community and that’s what we were able to do with this Black health experience survey,” Shepherd said.

Nonprofit organization West Side United is focused on reducing the life expectancy gap between downtown and the West Side of Chicago, and that includes addressing health needs.

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SOURCE: WTTW, Aida Mogos