Racism and Reconciliation

Reversing Racism’s Effects on Healthcare

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

As our world, and our profession of healthcare in particular, still grapple with the strain of a global pandemic, our country now faces another distressing challenge. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery quickly escalated the boiling and tumultuous waters of racism within our country and our culture.

Today, we find ourselves confronted with the urgent need to engage in conversations about awareness as we learn, listen and seek to understand each other in the fight against racism in America. As Christians, we need to do something, and we need to do something now. As an organization, we want to be part of the solution, specifically for our profession in healthcare.

 

What is CMDA doing to confront this issue?
CMDA condemns racism in any form, and we believe there is no place for racism in the world, in healthcare or in the lives of our leadership, members or staff. We believe Scripture clearly communicate God’s will for mankind to treat people everywhere in all circumstances with love, humility, kindness, compassion and self-control.

CMDA will continue seeking to oppose racism in healthcare and society and pursuing justice in access to healthcare and equitable outcomes. We will also continue striving for racial diversity in our leadership nationally, regionally and locally, in our commissions, board, staff, membership and in all aspects of our many ministries.

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Approximately 60 percent of the life expectancy gap between black and white men can be attributed to the higher rate of chronic disease among black men. Having more black healthcare professionals could reduce the black-white gap in cardiovascular mortality by 19 percent and the overall black-white male gap in life expectancy by 8 percent. [The National Bureau of Economic Research, 2018]

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Only about 48 percent of Asians feel they can comprehend everything their doctor is saying to them. Studies show that patients with similar racial backgrounds as their doctors have an easier time communicating with them and are more likely to have positive health outcomes. [Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 2015]

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African American men are six percentage points less likely to visit the doctor and eight percentage points less likely to report receipt of the flu shot. African American men have the lowest life expectancy compared to men and women in other racial, ethnic and gender groups in the U.S. [The National Bureau of Economic Research, 2018]

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Less than 8 percent of the physicians working in rural areas are black. The number of Black males graduating medical school is on a substantial decline; in fact, those numbers have failed to surpass the numbers from 35 years ago, while the number of positions in medical school have increased during the same time frame. While the racial and ethnic diversity of the U.S. population continues to increase, the physician workforce has been diversifying at a much slower speed and uneven course. [Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 2018]

“Diversity in nearly every profession is important. In health care, doctors and other health care workers from different cultures and backgrounds bring their unique perspectives to share with colleagues and patients. This helps improve our processes for providing care and helps us be more understanding and responsive to our patients’ needs.”

Dr. Lisa Dogget in The SGU Pulse Medical School Blog

“Health care workers are constantly thinking about how to improve the quality of care being delivered to our patients. However, we rarely talk about our own biases toward our patients—let alone racial bias. We usually aren’t even aware of them. But they exist, and in fact, when it comes to our patients, evidence suggests that us doctors have the same level of bias as the wider population.”

Scientific American

“No one is immune. Whether biases, implicit or explicit, whether blindspots because of our limited view lived out through our own lens of experience, we can all catch this ‘virus’ that skews how we view another created in God’s image. Ultimately, the ‘virus’ is sin—and that could not be more clear, could not be more black and white.”

—Omari Hodge, MD; and Nicole D. Hayes, MPA

Resources from CMDA

Watch this video from CMDA CEO Dr. Mike Chupp addressing the issue of racism today and how it impacts our ministry.

Chapel presentation on Racism - Love One Another with Gene Rudd, MD and Paul Montgomery.

Watch this webinar with a panel of healthcare professionals who answer discuss how to use our calling from God to reverse racism’s effects on health and healthcare.

Read CMDA’s Public Policy Statement on racism, which includes a list of specific Scriptures denouncing racism in our world.

How Does Racism Affect Our Patients?

Infant Mortality

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

  • African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.
  • African American infants are 3.8 times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight as compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
  • African Americans had over twice the sudden infant death syndrome mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites, in 2017.
  • In 2017, African American mothers were 2.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic white mothers to receive late or no prenatal care.
COVID-19

The Aspen Institute

As of July 23, the U.S. has recorded more than 140,000 deaths from COVID-19. The numbers show that Black and brown people are up to 3.5 times more likely to die of the virus than white people.

Incarceration and Health Issues

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

The impact of having a criminal record is exacerbated among African Americans, who are more likely than whites both to have a criminal record and also to experience racial discrimination in the labor market without a criminal record. The effects of incarceration are felt far beyond prison walls and impact health. In addition to pressing needs upon reentry such as housing, employment, and educational opportunities, justice-involved individuals have disproportionately high rates of chronic health conditions, and mental health issues and substance use disorders are common.

Hispanics and Kidney Disease

National Kidney Foundation

Hispanics are at greater risk for kidney disease and kidney failure than White Americans. In fact, Hispanics are 1½ times more likely to have kidney failure compared to other Americans.

Stroke

American Heart Association

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for all Americans, and stroke is also a leading cause of death High blood pressure, overweight and obesity and diabetes are common conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans is the highest in the world. African Americans are disproportionately affected by obesity. Among non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older, 69 percent of men and 82 percent of women are overweight or obese. Diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, and African Americans are more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

Heart Disease

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

While heart disease is the leading cause of death for all Americans, heart disease develops earlier and deaths from heart disease are higher in Blacks, due in part to risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

How can I pray?
In response to the violence and destruction happening in so many cities, the Lord is calling us to set aside Wednesday, June 10 as a day of prayer and fasting. We are asking God to heal our hearts and our land as we seek to find reconciliation with God and with one another.

Join us on this dedicated day of prayer and fasting as we boldly approach God’s throne and ask for His grace to help us and our nation at this time. We will have a time of corporate, virtual devotion and prayer at noon on June 10 on CMDA’s Facebook page. Visit www.facebook.com/cmdanational to join us for this special time of prayer. Next week, we will send out a downloadable prayer guide to assist you.

Additional Resources:

  • A Viral TikTok Is Sparking A Conversation About Racial Bias Against Black People In Healthcare

    BuzzFeed News
    June 10, 2020

  • COVID's Color Line — Infectious Disease, Inequity, and Racial Justice

    From The New England Journal of Medicine
    August 5, 2020

  • Structural Solutions for the Rarest of the Rare — Underrepresented-Minority Faculty in Medical Subspecialties

    From The New England Journal of Medicine
    July 16, 2020

  • Does Doctor Race Affect the Health of Black Men?

    From The National Bureau of Economic Research’s Bulletin on Aging and Health
    July 30, 2020

  • An American Crisis: The Lack of Black Men in Medicine

    From Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
    July 30, 2020

  • The Case for Diversity in the Health Care Workforce

    Health Affairs
    June 10, 2020

  • The Racial and Ethnic Composition and Distribution of Primary Care Physicians

    From Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
    March 28, 2018

  • Reducing Health Disparities through the 2015 MCAT: A Bold Goal Requiring On-going Assessment

    From Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice
    Spring 2015

  • The Coronavirus is Devastating Communities of Color

    From Business Insider
    June 29, 2020