Health and Medical Care of African-Americans

Health and Medical Care of African-Americans

Health and Medical Care of African-Americans

Health and Medical Care of African-Americans

Synopsis

Reed and his colleagues consider the health status of African-Americans and the medical care available to them. In their study, they clearly link the economic condition of black Americans to the care they receive. Indeed, the disadvantaged position in which most African-Americans are locked correlates to their level of illness and medical care deprivation. Drawing attention to the high percentage of adverse birth outcomes, increasing cancer rates, homicide trends and the special problem of Sickle Cell Anemia, the authors call for social and economic policy changes that will result in an adequate level of care. This important research brings new attention to not only the often noted issues of AIDS and substance abuse but to the "invisible epidemic," lead poisoning. The book is a call to national conscience.

Excerpt

This volume is one of four books produced from the project, Assessment of the Status of African-Americans, coordinated by the William Monroe Trotter Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The studies from this project were the result of several developments, most notably the conflicting assessments of the status of African-Americans being reported in the 1980s and the controversy surrounding a study that was being conducted by the National Research Council. African-Americans are plagued by problems. These problems include unemployment, underemployment, poverty, crime, and poor health. The gap between blacks and whites in economic status is not closing. Consequently, there is a great need to examine trends, evaluate programs, and recommend social policies to address these problems. So in 1984, with $2 million in funding from foundations, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences began a study to report on the status of blacks from 1940 to the present and on the future status of blacks in the United States.

The NRC study, which was billed as an update of Gunnar Myrdal's study, An American Dilemma, faced severe criticisms along the way. Many critics complained about the limited involvement of African-American scholars in the conceptualization, planning, and development of the project. They noted that many African-Americans who are prominent in some of the areas under study were conspicuously omitted from the study panels.

Since the NRC study was intended as an update of the Myrdal study, it might be useful to review the Myrdal work. Gunnar Myrdal was recruited to direct that study from Sweden, a country with no history of colonization and no apparent vested interest in the history of black-white relations in the United States. The work, which was published in 1944, reigned for . . .

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