racial disparities

Courtesy of Immigrant Welcome Center

With COVID-19 limiting gatherings, the Westside Community Development Corp. had to get creative for a recent wellness event. 

So it hosted a Health and Wealth event on Facebook to provide information on public health topics, including the vaccines. There were discussions with representatives from organizations such as local health departments, as well as live music performances.

Hilary Powell/Side Effects Public Media

The CEO of IU Health is speaking publicly about racism as a public health crisis, and says Black leaders in the organization want more training dedicated to being “actively anti-racist” in culture. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

On a Friday evening in late June, Liliana Quintero received a call from one of the Spanish interpreters working at a COVID-19 testing site in Goshen, Indiana. The area has one of Indiana’s higher Latinx populations and higher rates of COVID-19 cases, according to state data.

“[He was] saying, ‘Liliana I need to inform you that the nurse who is in charge of this site just told me that each time that she sees Hispanics coming to this site, she's going to call the police,’” recalls Quintero, director of the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, an Elkhart-based health education and advocacy nonprofit.

Carter Barrett/Side Effects Public Media

Dr. Blessing Ogbemudia graduated from Indiana University’s medical school in May. As he was celebrating with a few friends, he received an anonymous message on Instagram. It contained an audio clip of someone talking about him. 

Pixabay

Systemic racism has a big impact on the health of black Americans. They are more likely to have health conditions like diabetes or hypertension- and more likely to die from them. Racism in medicine takes many forms, and one is a foundation of mistrust and misunderstanding.

Justin Hicks, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Systemic racism has a huge impact on the health of African-Americans in the U.S. It's literally a problem from cradle to grave, affecting everything from infant mortality to life expectancy. And now, COVID-19 is taking a disproportionate toll on the community. Here's a sampling of Side Effects  stories highlighting the health care divide — and potential solutions.

Pixabay/MasimbaTinasheMadondo/CC0

Research shows African-Americans are less likely to access treatment for mental illness.

Cultural norms and the stigma associated with having a mental illness are partly to blame, according to Shardé Smith, assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Giving Birth In Indiana Can Be Dangerous. It's Worse If You're Black

Dec 7, 2018
Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

Ceera Moseby is a first-time mom and due early next year. Her pregnancy has been smooth so far. Still, the young, healthy Indianapolis woman has cause for concern.

“Me being a black woman, I am higher risk for death in that hospital," the 20-year-old said.

Illinois Issues: Dying Young In Illinois - Black Teens Face The Greatest Risk

Jul 31, 2018
Alex Wroblewski/Illinois Public Radio

Blair Holt was riding on a Chicago bus when he was shot and killed 11 years ago. His mother, Annette Nance-Holt, says she still regrets that she had plans that afternoon that prevented her from giving Blair a ride. The 16-year-old honor student had to get from his south side high school to the Roseland neighborhood to help out at his grandparents' store.

He was shot while trying to shield a friend from the gunfire. Her son, she said, was happy and healthy when she last saw him that day. He had just gotten his braces removed.

Understanding The Racial 'Death Gap'

Feb 19, 2018
Jake J. Smith / WHYY/The Pulse

Standing in her home, Shalonda Cooper points to an old picture of her mom, Windora.

“See how she looks here?” Shalonda asks. “She looks healthy! Look at the glow in her face.”

She then points to another picture taken about 20 years later, shortly after Windora had been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. She was in her thirties.


Gretchen Frazee / WTIU News

At the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Conference in Indianapolis,  U.S. Surgeon General and former Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adam called for racial equity in addressing the opioid epidemic.

It's a Sunday morning at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a famous African-American church in the Harlem area of New York City. The organist plays as hundreds of worshippers stream into the pews. The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III steps to the pulpit.

"Now may we stand for our call to worship," says Butts, as he begins a powerful three-hour service filed with music, dancing, prayers and preaching. "How good and pleasant it is when all of God's children get together."

Wikimedia Commons

Homicides, mainly gun deaths, are the biggest contributor to premature death among black Americans.  Yet despite this harsh statistic, there’s very little research on the issue, according to a new study from Indiana University’s School of Public Health in Bloomington.

Harsh life experiences appear to leave African-Americans vulnerable to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, researchers reported Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London.

Several teams presented evidence that poverty, disadvantage and stressful life events are strongly associated with cognitive problems in middle age and dementia later in life among African-Americans.

Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend.

White women saw more of a drop in death rates than black women — 1.9 percent a year from 2010 to 2014, compared to a 1.5 percent decrease for black women, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Addiction, Compassion, Race: Looking Back At The Crack Epidemic

Feb 24, 2016
US DEA

During the latter part of the 1980s, Robert Stutman led the New York field office for the Drug Enforcement Administration. His days were spent cultivating informants, and going after large-scale narcotics traffickers, mostly cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

"And I will never forget the day in late September of 1985, I was a having a staff meeting in my office...The supervisor walked into the meeting, and I'll never forget his words. He said, 'Boss, we're finding vials of this shit all over Harlem. They call it crack, and we have no idea what it is.'"

There's a big racial disparity in NIH funding

Nov 23, 2015
Mark Garrison

Several scientists are concerned about racial bias in federal funding of medical research. Using National Institutes of Health data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, researchers find persistently lower approval levels for grants filed by minority researchers, as compared to white applicants. The issue has major implications for America’s health and how its tax money is spent.

Miguel Dominguez, 51, at his home in East Los Angeles on Sept. 14, 2015. Dominguez is one of thousands of residents that live in the area affected by the Exide Technologies plant contamination.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

EAST LOS ANGELES — Miguel Dominguez didn’t know what to make of the notices he started receiving from the state toxic substances department a couple of years ago. They warned about Exide Technologies, a company he’d barely heard of.

Then a community activist knocked on the door. He explained that Exide’s battery recycling plant – just minutes from Dominguez’s home — had been polluting the air and soil with lead and other toxic chemicals for decades.

Advocates, such as the Red Cross and YMCA say swim lessons are the most effective way to prevent drowning
City of Olathe via flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death for U.S. children under age 5, after birth defects. For youngsters under 15, only traffic accidents are responsible for more deaths by injury. And while drowning rates have declined slightly since the turn of the century, African Americans continue to die from drowning at considerably higher rates than whites.

Bishop Gwendolyn Coates-Stone of the God Answers Prayer Ministries of Los Angeles gives a sermon about preparing for the death of loved ones.
Heide de Marco / Kaiser Health News

BUFFALO — Twice already Narseary and Vernal Harris have watched a son die. The first time — Paul, at age 26 — was agonizing and frenzied, his body tethered to a machine meant to keep him alive as his incurable sickle cell disease progressed. When the same illness ravaged Solomon, at age 33, the Harrises reluctantly turned to hospice in the hope that his last days might somehow be less harrowing than his brother’s.

Can Health Care Be Cured Of Racial Bias?

Aug 20, 2015

Jane Lazarre was pacing the hospital waiting room. Her son Khary, 18, had just had knee surgery, but the nurses weren't letting her in to see him.

"They told us he would be out of anesthesia in a few minutes," she remembers. "The minutes became an hour, the hour became two hours."

She and her husband called the surgeon in a panic. He said that Khary had come out of anesthesia violently — thrashing and flailing about. He told Lazarre that with most young people Khary's age, there wouldn't have been a problem. The doctors and nurses would have gently held him down.

Years of efforts to reduce the racial disparities in health care have so far failed to eliminate them. But progress is being made in the western United States, due largely to efforts by managed care plans to identify patients who were missing out on management of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

While management of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar improved nationwide, African-Americans still "substantially" trailed whites everywhere except the western U.S., an area from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific as well as Alaska and Hawaii.