Health Disparities Found Within Black Community
The Washington Post on Tuesday examined recent research into health disparities between black immigrants and U.S.-born blacks. According to the Post, health disparities between whites and blacks in the U.S. are already "widely recognized," while those within the black community are "lesser-known."
Carlotta Arthur, a researcher in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, recently examined the issue in a review article in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Arthur found that upon arrival in the U.S., black immigrants have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, obesity and overall chronic medical conditions than blacks who were born in the U.S. However, she found that the health of black immigrants can decline after years of residence in the U.S.
Winston Price, immediate past president of the National Medical Association -- an advocacy group for physicians and patients of African descent -- said that the stress of assimilation might lead to a decline in health for black immigrants.
Other factors could include problems accessing care, largely due to language barriers; a lack of health insurance; and discrimination on the part of health providers.
Arthur noted that "'blacks' in this country are not a homogenous group" but rather include "immigrants from Africa, Central and South America, and English-, French- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean nations, as well as people now known as African Americans."
NIH's National Center for Minority Health and Disparities, established in 2000, has begun to consider these issues.
Arthur said of the effort, "The same thing has already happened with other minority groups, including Latinos and Asians. It's time to start doing it for the black population" (Ghassemi, Washington Post, 7/25).