During the Antebellum era from 1836 -1860, black people were forced out of their own free will to be part of medical analysis and dissections. The source of anatomical and surgical experimental process were dead bodies of black people that were stolen from their graves without permission from relevant authorities.
The ‘runaway slave syndrome’ or the psychiatric diagnosis of ‘drapetomania’ was actually created with the sole aim of pathologizing African slaves who escaped their tyrant owners. Running away from slavery was considered a disease at that time and the punishment or treatment was amputation.
During the Reconstruction era from 1863 -1877, American medical practitioners contended and claimed that former black slaves would not be able to survive and bloom in a free society because their mental capacity could not psychologically handle freedom.
During the Civil Rights era from1954 – 1968, psychoanalysts made use of the schizophrenia model to paint black militants and objectors as paranoid and hostile as they pose a threat to the status quo of racism.
In the Tuskegee Syphilis Study from1932 – 1972, over 200 African American men that had syphilis were deliberately denied treatment. This became the standpoint upon which medical research and medicine as a whole victimized black Americans. Over the decades, different researchers have written and proven the Tuskegee experiment to be the basis of distrust among black American communities. Although the issue of distrust began way before the Tuskegee study, it has been widely regarded as the basic explanation to the rationale behind it.
Through IAT tests, bias of treatment based on ethnicity/race, socioeconomic background, and insurance coverage has cut across so many medical institutions.
A study was conducted on emergency room records and it revealed that when it came to receiving triage scores, whites are attended to more than blacks for the same medical condition. This translates into black people having longer wait times, even when there was a case of an emergency.
The issue of cynicism, suspicion, and distrust needs to be addressed squarely by the National Medical Association. Given the historical backgrounds, gaining back trust is going to be an uphill battle. This is the reason why local and state medical institutions need to address the situation once and for all.
The role of biases should be looked into by medical and health organizations in each state. Medical care dichotomy has been fully explained by this implicit racial bias whereby doctors were found to have a higher percentage of stereotyping and had a greater tendency of intentionally withholding complete medical attention and treatment from a patient of color.
Medical training institutions should ensure that doctors are taught well and trainings geared towards addressing implicit bias should be adopted. These factors should be considered in clinical and specialist practices to make possible improved health care and trust building for black Americans.
Doctors should take the lead in nonpartisan efforts to improve our health care system. These include addressing issues with healthcare access and medical costs for those who are the most vulnerable.
Policymakers as a whole should be held accountable because their role is to ensure that there is universal equity when it comes to providing equal and adequate medical attention to all, including black Americans.