Could increasing the number of black doctors across the nation help save the lives of Black men?
A group of researchers who have set out to explore why Black males have the lowest life expectancy seem to think so.
According to the health community, Black men are more likely to agree to preventative health care recommended by Black male doctors, Colorlines.com reports. The outlet noted that only 4 percent of the doctors in the United States are black and medical professionals believe this disparity is partially to blame for the premature death of black men.
Good News Report: June 11th: “The Black Man Can” non-profit organization is celebrating boys and men of colorIn the study, titled “Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland,” The New York Times noted: “Black men seeing black male doctors were much more likely to agree to certain preventive measures than Black men seeing doctors who were white or Asian.”
The study — published in June by the National Bureau for Economic Research — recruited 702 Black men in Oakland and offered them a free health screening. Each was assigned a doctor who was either another Black male, White or Asian.
Per the Times:
Neither the men nor the doctors knew that the purpose of the study was to ask if a doctor’s race mattered when he or she advised these patients. As it turned out, the racial effects were not subtle.
Diabetes screening was part of the health check, and 63 percent of the Black men assigned to a Black doctor agreed to the screening. But just 43 percent of those assigned to a doctor who was White or Asian consented to be screened.
Some 62 percent of Black men with a Black doctor agreed to cholesterol tests, compared to 36 percent assigned to a doctor who was not Black.
“I don’t think I have ever had such a strong result, so unambiguous,” Dr. Marcella Alsan, a professor of medicine at Stanford University and an author of the study, told The Times.
According to the publication, patients who saw Black doctors also gave more “emotional responses,” including, “the entire day made me feel very comfortable and relaxed” and “cool.”
Overall, researchers concluded that cardiovascular-related deaths among black men could be reduced by up to 20 percent if they had more access to their peers in the medical field.