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02 May 2022

Navigating the Healthcare System as a Black Woman with Migraine

 


    In a 2016 study of 222 White medical students and residents, about 50% held false beliefs about biological differences between Blacks and Whites, including that a Black patient has thicker skin and less sensitive nerve endings thus feeling less pain than a White patient. These beliefs date back to when slave owners used them to justify the abuse and mistreatment of enslaved people. Unfortunately, it has continued into modern-day healthcare resulting in People of Color receiving inadequate pain treatment.

    I have been through many instances of implicit and racial bias, especially in the treatment of my migraine disease. My experience, unfortunately, is not rare. Many People of Color deal with racial and implicit bias in the healthcare system. Sarah Fiarman shared how we can combat implicit bias in an article she wrote for the journal Disrupting Inequity. “Deconstructing our unconscious bias takes consistent work. We can’t address it once and be done. We need to recognize these unwanted, deep-rooted beliefs and limit their influence on us. Then our actions will match our intentions.” 

I wrote an article for highlighting the stark contrast between my experience receiving healthcare in a diverse community health center when I was young and my experience navigating the systemic racism embedded in healthcare today. Read the full article on Healthgrades.com.


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