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The Local Take Talks Health, History and African Americans

This week on The Local Take, we're talking about the African American community, health disparities, and why we are hesitant to trust the medical community with our care.  Not because of what they say, but because of what they do.  I reached out to two doctors.  Dr. Jayne Morgan from the Association of Black Cardiologists and Dr. Thaddeus Bell, founder of Closing the Gap in Healthcare.  We discuss the historical disparities that have impacted our community.  

A Few Historical Notes: 

1813 -1883 J. Marion Simms - Father of Modern Obstetrics- experimented on enslaved Black women. 

1906- WEB Du Boispublished The Health and Physique of the Negro American and spoke of healthcare being a human right.

1932 - 1972 Tuskegee Experiment

1951 HeLa Cells:Henrietta Lack the basis for most medical research. She and her family have never been sufficiently compensated for the use of her body tissue by scientists around the world.  

2013 - 2017  The Maternal Mortality Rate - Georgia's maternal death rate of 66.3 per 100,000 live births is worst than in some developing countries.


Dr. Jayne Morgan spoke about the overt and unconscious bias that many physicians bring to their practice in the healthcare community. She spoke about the stereotypes that exist.  We speak about Dr. Sheila Moore of Indianapolis who was refused pain killers while dying from COVID19. She posted videos to social media speaking about the racism that prevented her from being treated with humanity.  


Dr. Thaddeus Bell spoke about the 400 year history of being abused and shortchanged by healthcare professionals. 


Dr. Morgan spoke about clinical trials being the future of medicine and our community is often not included. She spoke about clinical trials covering all of the costs for participation in cutting edge medicine. She says that no major medical advancement exists without clinical trials. 


Dr. Bells shares that while the behaviour of doctors is a challenge. Culturally our community is not aware of health literacy. Some of us don't know how to take care of ourselves. 


They both spoke to the need of more African American healthcare professionals not just doctors, but therapists, technicians, administrators and even social workers. 


The American Bar Association reports that Black Patients receive older, cheaper and more conservative treatments regardless of class, health behaviors, co-morbidities and access to health insurance and health care services. 


How are we supposed to survive in a healthcare system that isn't set up to treat us with respect and equity? We have to advocate for ourselves and family members.  We also have to follow doctor's directions as opposed to old wives tales.