A conversation on healthcare disparities facing the Black population
The Black community faces disparities in the medical system. From bias in treatment and the way doctors engage with Black patients, higher rates of morbidity for pregnant Black women as compared to other populations, and overall bias in healthcare and health insurance standards. To speak about these issues is Dr. Niko Veredicias, an assistant professor of ASU’s College of Health Solutions.
“There’s a strong seed of systemic racism and structural racism that perpetuates throughout the Black community and really impacts the trust and the safe space that the Black community has towards the medical community,” said Veredicias.
As Veredicias points out, Black patients often do not feel safe asking their doctor questions. This is caused by doctors not understanding the patient’s cultural beliefs, a lack of representation with in the medical community, or historical events. Veredicias distinguishes the Tuskegee experiment as a notable impact.
“That didn’t end that long ago, that was in, for some of us, in our generation, our parents, our grandparents generation, it ended in 1972,” said Veredicias. “It’s those types of events where Black people were used in experiments without their informed consent, without their knowledge of what the experiments were really entailing, that continue to be discussed in the Black community”
The lack of a safe space prevents many Black people from wanted to seek medical help, as noted by Veredicias. Some in the Black community view going to the doctor as a last resort and put off seeking medical help until the they have no other choice. Veredicias has experienced this herself.
“It’s still entering that space and feeling like, I don’t feel comfortable asking this particular question about my health,” said Veredicias. “I’m being afraid of the white coat.”