From the Eye of the Storm to the Eyes of the Nation: Katrina Victims' Health Disparities Take Center Stage

By Pamies, Rubens | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 3, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

From the Eye of the Storm to the Eyes of the Nation: Katrina Victims' Health Disparities Take Center Stage


Pamies, Rubens, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


While Katrina no longer dominates the evening news, the inadequate and negligent response of our government to the New Orleans tragedy presents an unprecedented challenge equal to or exceeding that of rebuilding that city's infrastructure. Our nation's health care system has failed. On life support long before the hurricane, the New Orleans' tragedy accentuates the complete breakdown of the American health care system in caring for our most vulnerable populations. In New Orleans, that means the African-American community, a population in whom chronic illnesses and major health issues are escalating as rapidly as a pneumatic tube in a drive-through bank teller.

Widespread poverty in New Orleans' Black community nearly guaranteed entrapment on roof tops, degradation and suffering in the Superdome and drowning for many. But pre-existing health disparities also created many unnecessary fatalities among the elderly, infirm and chronically ill.

Black people, in general, have much higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, emphysema, obesity, kidney failure, congestive heart failure and neurological disorders. Diet, lifestyle and cultural differences all play a role, as do the insidious and pervasive psychological aspects of feeling ineffectual and powerless in our society. Support for a controversial and still unproven theory, which links low levels of chronic stress from racism to increased risk for many health problems, has been accumulating for years. Last May, the strongest evidence yet to support this theory was revealed in a new study by the American Heart Association, which found a link between racism and early stages of heart disease.

Black people are suffering and dying in greater numbers than any other ethnic group in America. We are a nation that's often described in superlatives--as the most powerful, the wealthiest, the most influential country in the world. How then, do we reconcile that our first-world country is home to many third-world citizens? The United States' infant mortality rate is a disgrace. Even when you factor in maternal age, income, education and marital status, a Black infant is nearly three times as likely to die as a White infant.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

From the Eye of the Storm to the Eyes of the Nation: Katrina Victims' Health Disparities Take Center Stage
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?