Local NewsBridging the Divide


Bridging The Divide: Race in American Medicine

Posted at 11:33 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 14:48:18-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Race does play a role in health care.

You don't need to go back very far to see why many in the Black community have a continued distrust of the federal government. Hurricane Katrina and the Flint water crisis are two examples where some minorities see monumental government failures that hurt them badly.

Dr. Tyler Parry, assistant professor of African American and African Diaspora studies at UNLV, says that distrust is now very apparent during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr. Melva Thompson-Robinson at UNLV also says it doesn't take a deep dive into history to spot the health care divide.

The historical context of racial disparities in health care reveals a deeper narrative in which race, social class and gender play role in health care policy.

Parry said some argue the root of the current problem lies in the faulty promises of the past.

Bias and racism only compound the problem taking us right up to this day and this pandemic.

The virus has disproportionately affected African American, Native American and Latin communities.

The pandemic impact has also exposed long-standing inequities in American health care.

Experts say poor housing conditions, working in essential fields, inconsistent access to health care, chronic health conditions and a weak immunity system all play a role.

As the pandemic rages on, the promise of a vaccine continues to dangle before us.

Numerous trials are underway as companies compete to come up with a cure for COVID-19, but in order for the trials to be successful, they need volunteers.

Black people and Latinos have now become the target participants in clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines.

While doctors argue the vaccines and medicines can work differently in racial and ethnic groups, some are not convinced.

Building trust in the minority community won't be easy but is the first step in joining the conversation.