[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Citations 0
Books, Journals, New Media
March 7, 2001

Race and HealthAn American Health Dilemma: A Medical History of African Americans and the Problem of Race—Beginnings to 1900

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2001;285(9):1219. doi:10.1001/jama.285.9.1219

Why are African Americans in such poor health? In a putatively equal-opportunity society in which every hospital and clinic promises color-blind care, the answers to this complex question reside not just with American racism, but with Western conceptions of race as a whole, suggest W. Michael Byrd and Linda A. Clayton. Every African American lives with the corrosive residue of a 2000-year legacy of presumed inferiority. It is a legacy so ingrained in our culture that we often fail to see it. But its far-reaching effects are clear enough: a race- and class-based dual-tier health care system, a resilient health deficit for black Americans that dates from slavery, the willing acceptance of starkly different indicators of "normal" health status for blacks and whites, and, perhaps most controversial of all, the medical profession's relegation of physicians and nurses of color to an inferior caste. All these factors have a negative impact on African-Americans' health.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview