Handbook of Black American Health: The Mosaic of Conditions, Issues, Policies, and Prospects

Handbook of Black American Health: The Mosaic of Conditions, Issues, Policies, and Prospects

Handbook of Black American Health: The Mosaic of Conditions, Issues, Policies, and Prospects

Handbook of Black American Health: The Mosaic of Conditions, Issues, Policies, and Prospects

Synopsis

It is estimated that there are 60,000 excess Black American deaths annually compared with White Americans. Not only do Black babies die earlier than White babies, but, in recent years, there are reports that while life expectancy for Whites has improved, for Blacks there has been a leveling off, if not a reduction. These are among the issues detailed in this important guide to the major causes of Black illness and death.

Excerpt

The year 1993 is both a difficult and an opportune time for a book on the health of Black Americans. It is difficult because it has now been eight years since the Secretary's Task Force Report on the health of Blacks and other minorities. This report related, among other things, that there were 60,000 excess deaths per year among Blacks when compared with Whites with appropriate adjustment for age and sex. From those who monitor life and death statistics, we know that things have not improved and may, in fact, be worse, with a significant increase in the number of excess deaths per year. Thus, one might be tempted to look askance at a book about the health of Black Americans in 1993.

On the other hand, 1993 is a most opportune time to examine in depth the health status of Blacks because significant changes in health care and health professions education are on the horizon. a majority of Americans of all races and social classes are demanding such changes. Major national councils, com- missions and organizations are documenting the need for such changes. Further, we have recently elected a new administration in Washington that is clearly committed to such change. in the near future, that administration will present to Congress a proposal for major health care reform in this nation. Congress will carefully examine and debate this proposal, but when deliberations are concluded, we will be moving toward major health care reform.

Because the present health care system has not been effective in bridging the gap in health status between Blacks and Whites through prevention, early di- agnosis, or medical treatment, we must expect that health care reform holds hope for improving both health and health professions education for Blacks. Beyond the reform of health care and the health care system, we are also chal- lenged to escalate our attention to, and our support for, the prevention of disease and disability.

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