BY TIM BROWN, FNP
While thinking of current health care problems affecting today’s men, I could think of no better topic than what is affecting black men in our current environment.
Experimenting on black communities, segregated healthcare, and longstanding implicit social, cultural, and institutional biases are deeply rooted in the US and the health care system is not omitted as has created a deep distrust in the medical setting.
Conditions outside the healthcare setting impact the quality of medical encounters. Police brutality can shape health outcomes ultimately by creating mistrust or fear of other authority figures and institutions such as doctors and medical providers in the healthcare system.
A patient should not expect to receive a lower standard of care because of their race. Chronic care management for diseases such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, and mental health must involve a relationship that is built around continuous trust.
These stressors only exacerbate the diseases and pre-existing medical conditions as well as underlying mental health disorders. I have come to the realization whenever I venture out into unfamiliar territory; I face the same challenges as my patients.
As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I attend numerous conferences each year and I have to make certain that I carry my credentials in full view due to fear someone will alert the authorities that I may present some type of danger/threat to them as a black man. The anxiety of having to experience this on a daily basis can lead to other problems that are physiological.
There is a need for the healthcare profession to address the role of implicit biases in disparities in healthcare. Thoughtful planning, action, and solutions are a must. A commitment by healthcare systems and providers to understand biases in healthcare is critically essential to have better health experiences and outcomes.
Tim Brown, MSN, FNP-BC, is Family Nurse Practitioner who practices at CareSouth Carolina’s Latta office.