Most of the health information available doesn’t apply to the specific concerns of Black people, our narratives often missing from general research. Thankfully we have places like BlackDoctor.org (shameless plug) to help us out, but Black people are still underrepresented in health research. A recent story by The Atlantic points out a great disparity in health research for African Americans.
A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco revealed that only 5% of the genetic traits that linked asthma to European Americans applied to Black people. An alarming statistic seeing as how Black people die from asthma 10 times the rate of White people of non-Hispanic descent.
Illyasha Peete, a Black woman from the Bay Area speaks to this cold shoulder when she speaks about the lackluster treatment her Black son received when going to the doctor for his asthma.
“They send you home with this child, and you know he could stop breathing at any minute,” Peete said. “There was no support group. There was no education.”
Researchers noted a variety of issues with being inclusive in their health studies, citing that recruiting Black people is challenging due to their suspicion of medical research. A number of sources have all spoken to this as a major obstacle to inclusion, while other leading researchers are saying that these studies aren’t doing enough to include us in the narrative.
A lot of us would love to participate but the scientists conducting these studies don’t venture outside of the comfort of their labs to visit the communities we reside in. JoEllen Wilbur, associate dean at Rush University’s College of Nursing illustrates this observation.