Preprint / Version 1

Black Americans and the Issues of the American Healthcare System

The History of Black Americans and Medicine


  • Karli Pilgrim Frederick Law Olmsted #156



African American History, Medical Mistreatment, Ethics, Black Americans, Healthcare System, Medical School


Black Americans have a poor history of unjust treatment within the United States of America. From the horrible effects of slavery to the dreadful outcomes of Jim Crow Laws, Black Americans have had a poor deal of mistreatment and hate. Even though there were laws made to practice equality, racism, and its history is still alive today. Racism is deeply rooted in many places within the U.S: from neighborhoods and education to law enforcement and medical care. The fact of the matter is that if the institution/organization was made or created when racism was prevalent, it was most likely built off of racism. An example of this is how students who are training to be doctors and nurses still get taught to believe that Black people have thicker skin and feel less pain than other races -- which leads to their pain being undermined. Another issue is that these students also don't get shown or taught how to identify certain problems, like diseases or conditions, in someone with a darker skin tone. All medical books and photos show examples of paler skin tones, which leads to misdiagnoses or mistreatment of those with darker skin tones. As a Black American female and an aspiring doctor, I wrote this to spread awareness about what goes on in my community and to see more Black representation in Medicine. This research paper was inspired by Henrietta Lacks' story of medical mistreatment and includes information, stories, and facts from several different sources.


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