By Tonya M. Matthews and Stacy Pagos Haller
To grow up African American is to experience health inequity first-hand, everywhere, all the time. You see loved ones and friends who aren’t well but can’t or won’t see a doctor to find out why, while others find out why but can’t afford the treatment they need.
You see your elders die without seeing their grandchildren’s faces one last time or remembering their own names. There are the sad, resigned stories of “well, that’s just old age and hard living for black folks”— but is it because they were never properly diagnosed, properly treated or properly considered for a potentially life-changing therapy in the first place?
Recent conversations have begun offering candid insight into the systemic and historical racial biases that impact health outcomes, from basic mental wellness to debilitating brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Two factors are essential prerequisites to better health outcomes for all: a transparent focus on the equitable application of medical treatment and cultural competence in health care.