There are various disparities women of color experience in society. One in particular that we’ll cover are the challenges they face and limited quality of life due to implicit and explicit biases in health care and the lack of equitable and inclusive practices by health care professionals. According to research, health care disparities connect to the differences within marginalized groups that face social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantages.
Racial stereotypes are the reason why health disparities are so prevalent within the healthcare industry. Women of color are more likely to have hypertension, be depressed, and to rate their own health more poorly because of the negative impact those stereotypes have on them.
Instead of being treated like an individual, women of color are placed into a box that doesn’t support their medical needs.
According to Health Affairs, some people in the United States were more likely to die from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes simply because of their race or ethnicity, not just because they lack access to health care.” The choice of being biased is a disservice to all women of color.
Lack of Awareness
Medical professionals lack cultural competence where they provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors. According to Cultural Competence and Patient Safety, cultural affiliations affect how an individual seeks care, describes symptoms, and follows instructions“ which makes it imperative for medical professionals to honor their patient’s cultural beliefs.
Physicians must recognize that preconceived perceptions of minority patients plays a role in their lack of fair treatment and contribution.According to American College of Physicians,“Physicians and other health care professionals must be sensitive to cultural diversity among patients..” Cultural insensitivity toward black and brown women creates room for discouragement instead of encouragement.
Black and Latinx women are the targeted minority groups who are perceived to have the most compromised immune systems. Poor diet, lack of Vitamin D, and abusing hair relaxers are factors as to why 80% of Black women are prone to having fibroids by the age of 50.
According to Minority Health, Hispanic women are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 20% are more likely to die from cervical cancer compared to white women. Women of color are more likely to not be insured because of the economic disadvantages and lack of access compared to white women.
According to the Center for American Progress, “ in 2013, 37.6% of Asian American women over age 40 did not receive mammograms while 32% of adult Asian American women did not get routine pap smears “. Unfortunately, 1 out of 5 Asian American women are uninsured which is deemed as an economic disadvantage.
Another challenge women of color face is the language barrier that affects the quality of healthcare service. Most Latinx families don’t practice speaking English in their household which acts as a burden on the medical professional as well as the patient. The social disadvantage that the patient faces is that medical professionals aren’t bilingual or their clinic doesn’t provide interpreters.
According to the Health Policy Institute, the language barrier leads to “patient dissatisfaction, poor comprehension, and lower quality of care.” We are limiting the narrative by limiting the language between the medical professional and patient.
More Diversity in the Workforce
Representation within the workforce is important and having cultural competence will eliminate all patients’ reservations toward receiving the proper treatment. According to Diversity in Healthcare, 4% of medical doctors are African-American and that is insignificantly low. As a black woman, having an African-American doctor is a rewarding yet rare experience because there is no discomfort or judgment that takes place.
The ultimate goal is to facilitate quality care and promote transparency within the health care system so women of color can feel more comfortable and welcomed. According to American College of Physicians , providing a more diverse health care workforce that honors the patient is crucial because it’ll promote understanding among physicians, health care professionals, and patients.
Prevent Health Disparities
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention data(2013) suggests reducing racial disparities by focusing on communities that are at greater risk and increasing access to quality care.
According to The Health Affairs Blog, all clinicians and personnel interacting with patients should receive racial bias training so they are fully aware of their racial biases that negatively affects their patient’s quality of care.
The United States will become a melting pot of different cultures and identities which makes inclusivity the ultimate goal toward progression. According to the National Institute of Health, women of color will represent 53% of the U.S population by 2050.
Women of color face systematic obstacles that are made to exclude and neglect themselves daily. The inclusivity mindset will encourage women of color to be proud of their differences because they would see more health professionals that look like them. In order to decrease racial disparities, unsupported women of color must find ways to advocate for themselves so they receive the proper support that they deserve. The list below are 5 tips that will help decrease racial disparities within the healthcare industry.
Here’s some Tips that will Help Decrease Racial Disparities:
- Advocate for yourself and hire a translator to eliminate the language barriers between you and your primary doctor
- Be more assertive with your primary doctor and express your concerns
- Create a system where all patients of color have equal access to resources
- Demand to have a more diverse workforce so patients can comfortably adapt
- Start the conversation as medical professionals by addressing that racism within healthcare exists
Inclusivity within the healthcare industry will shift the narrative of what it means to individuals and not statistics. The significance of being a woman is having the ability to face your hardships with grace and resilience even when you’re misunderstood.
Work Cited Page
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