Like the Jews subjected to the devastation of the Holocaust, breach of trust is something that lingers in the minds of African and Black Americans. The medical community can draw from the Jews’ experience to understand what the black community faces in healthcare. The disparities across the racial landscape must be acknowledged and dealt with. Because the underlying issues have not been addressed, distrust is continually a fundamental reason for the lack of representation of blacks in clinical studies or black doctors serving black communities.
Since black doctors typically get their degrees from a white system, a system designed to treat and further the healthcare of white Americans above others, it’s just as hard for many of their patients to trust them any more than they do white doctors. Many black doctors have a true heart to serve their communities. Providing them with better resources that reflect their representation for the people they serve would be invaluable.
As of late, many African and Black Americans are seeking out medical care from black doctors and healthcare providers. It seems the notions of “black pride” and “buy black” are moving into the medical arena as well. Although this doesn’t directly address the intentional hands-off directive of the medical community at large to increase the solidarity of healthcare for all Americans, having more black medical professionals treating more black patients can raise interest for reform because let’s face it, healthcare costs. Seeing those dollars go down the road to non-ethnic communities can be a true incentive for change and progress.
Another advantage to encouraging and providing access to more black professionals in healthcare is that they can help patients better understand the risks and benefits concerning clinical trials. Black and African Americans are grossly distrustful of human trials because of the many historically documented cases of inhumane practices. If patients can understand from their doctors and nurses how clinical trials affect healthcare issues that are more prevalent in black people, then perhaps more would come forward to participate in studies.
The bottom line is always a motivator in corporate America. The medical community is closely intertwined with corporate America. However, the real bottom line is that the medical community has a lot of explaining to do. It must redirect its focus from simply including blacks in a “business as usual” sense in healthcare to focusing on the elements that cause alarm and hesitation when it comes to blacks seeking medical care. Increased participation invaluable clinical trials can help further the cause of a healthier America, including Black America.