Inherent bias within the medical system against people of color come from a long establishment of whole dominated systems and it discourages African Americans to obtain the right medical care they deserve. In the 1980s, women of color and white women had similar mortality rate from breast cancer. However, after 30 years a widening and frightening disparity occurred, “Although 70 percent of white women live at least five years after being with breast cancer, that survival rate drops to just 56 percent for African American women” (Ressler, 2013). This is the case because African American women do not get the medical intervention to detect these diseases early, thus, preventing them to get proper treatment before it is too late. In addition to the lack of screening for these diseases, there is also the fact that African American women are more prone for cervical cancer due to specific vaccines that are developed and tested in mostly white subjects (Ressler, 2013). Because clinical trials for the vaccines are tested on white subjects, scientists and doctors are more likely to alter the vaccine specifically for the body and systems of whites, therefore, would not work well for African American women. Due to these two reasons, it contribute to the increasing death rate of cancer in the African American women community.
Many may make an argument claiming that the increase of breast and cervical cancers increase in African American women are due to “genetic mutations that predispose them to breast and cervical cancers”. (Ressler, 2013). Although that might be true, according to researchers it does not fully explain the widening and intolerable gap between patients. Simply to say, “breast cancer is still diagnosed more frequently in white women” (Ressler, 2013). For the reason that white women have access to high medical care while African American women “aren’t getting regular check-ups because they feel like they’ve been excluded from the health system their whole lives” (Ressler, 2013). Going to the doctors regularly and getting annual check ups increase the chance of detecting diseases early which leads to treatment before it becoming fatal.
Another reason that may contribute to the implicit racial bias within the medical community is the number of African American medical students being accepted into medical school. Although we do see more minority groups of physicians more than ever, recent studies show that the number of black graduates in medical school had been decreasing within the last 20 years (Ansell, Mcdonald 2015). More specifically, “Howard, Meharry and Morehouse- continue to graduate a disproportionate number of black medical students. In 2012, there were just 517 black men along the more than 20,000 graduating students of U.S medical schools” (Ansell, Mcdonald 2015). By accepting more African American students into medical school, it would simply mean more African American physicians in the medical community that would help those who do not get the proper care and treatment from white physicians. This is the case because according to Ansell and Mcdonald, “Black medical students are more twice as likely as white students to express a desire to care for underserved communities of color”. Therefore, in order to improve the medical care of African Americans, we must consider to accept more black students into medical school who shows promise to help and aid those who do not get the proper medical care and treatment as of right now from their provider.
Lastly, medical racism occurs when physicians have a preference on who to treat base on ethnicity. It is known that white physicians prefer to treat white patients, therefore, may spend less time treating African American patients. (“Unconscious” Racial Bias Among Doctors). This is link to bad patient care because if patients were to have good connection with physicians, “they are more likely to follow through with care, makeup follow-up appointments and better control diseases such as diabetes and depression” (“Unconscious” Racial Bias Among Doctors). In order to receive the best care, patients must be able to trust their physicians and feel respected. However, patients who felt rush during a visit would most certainly not feel welcome and liked; resulting in inadequate treatment and not get the help they came in to get in the first place. This proves that racial bias within the medical community is preventing African Americans to get the proper care due to negative interactions with white physicians who have particular liking for white patients.
To conclude, I believe medical racism do exist in the medical community specifically to African American patients. This is proven by the increase rate of death in African American women due to cancer, low rates of black students getting accepted into medical school and white physicians prefer to treat white patients, thus, spending less time with African American patients. I believe the first step to fixing this problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem and be aware of the statistics of African American patients in the healthcare system. From there, we are able to make changes that can improve medical care for African Americans and provide the care they deserve.