National Medical Association
Racism in
Health Parity for
African Americans
Authored by
Rodney G. Hood, M.D.
Immediate Past President
Carnage of Racism
The Beginning
The Evolution of Man
Origin of All Languages
Genetic Evolution Evidence
In 1987 geneticists at UC Berkeley
(Cann/Wilson) analyzed partial mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) sequence (less than 7%) of
different people worldwide and found more
genetic mutations among indigenous Africans
than any other people.
Max Ingman, et. al., at the University of
Uppsala in Sweden recently described global
mtDNA diversity in humans based on analyses
of the complete mtDNA sequence of 53
humans of diverse origins.
Nature: Mitochondrial Genome Variation and the Origin of Modern Man, Dec. 7, 2000.
The Migration of Man
The origin and dispersal of modern humans, Homo sapiens. The time
of origin of modern humans is not well known but may have been
about 200,000 (130,000–465,000) years ago.
“The African Eve”
The UC Berkeley geneticists postulated
that the entire population of the modern
world was descended from a relatively
small group of people that left Africa
100,000 years ago.
This group postulated the “African Eve”
theory (Newsweek), that every human
being alive today carries the mtDNA of
just one African woman (Lucy’s cousin)
or a small number of female African
ancestors who lived more than 10,000
generations ago.
Imhotep the Physician
This great African
physician was deified in
approximately 2850 B.C.
Imhotep was the first
person known as a
doctor throughout the
world and acknowledged
as the god of medicine
5000 years ago.
Some 2500 years before
a Greek laid claim to this
same title.
Historic African Surgery
Edinburgh Medical Journal, 1884
Cesarean Section
performed by a
Banyoro surgeon
in Uganda in 1879
with the use of
aseptic technique,
sutures and hot
cautery irons.
Illustration from Dr. RW Felkin’s
description of the Cesarean Section.
Human Genome Project
A Portrait in Diversity
Human World Clans
The Seven Daughters of Eve
“Whose Your Mama?”
N e a n d e rth a ls & H o m o e re c tu s
M akeda
H e le n a
M a la x s h m i
G a ia
In a
M ito c h o n d r ia l E v e
X e n ia
A iy a n a
C h o c h m in g w u
L a y la
Ve ld a
L u n g ile
D jig o n a s e e
J a s m in e
E lia
L a tifa
Naom i
L a ta s h a
Ta ra
L a la m ik a
L ila
K a trin e
U ta
L a m ia
L in g a ire
U lla
U rs u la
U lrik e
L im b e r
A fric a
E a s t E u ra s ia
a n d A m e ric a
E a s t E u ra s ia
C e n tra l a n d
W e s t E u ra s ia
W e s t E u ra s ia
A n d A m e ric a
A fric a a n d
W e s t E u ra s ia
Rodney’s Mama
Conclusion of Evidence
Thus, we have Fossil, Linguistic and
Genetic evidence that persuasively point
to the conclusion that every person alive
today is descended from modern humans
(Homo Sapiens) that existed only in Africa
until approximately 100,000 years ago.
The origins of humanity, civilization,
intelligence and modern medicine
(Imhotep) have evolved from Africa.
The Evolution of
Racism in Medicine
Racism has roots in medicine
over 2500 years
The Great Chain of Being
Race and
Early Forefathers
of Racial Bias
The Roman-Greek
Contributions to Racism
in Medicine
The teachings of Galen (c. 130-201), a
famous second century Roman physician
of Greek origin, were accepted as
sacrosanct by teachers of Western
medicine for 1500 years.
Galen promoted the racist concepts of
Black physical and psychological
inferiority in his teachings and writings.
Bernal M.Black Athena/ The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985,
Rutger Univ. Press, 1987.
European Contribution:
Racism in Medicine
Many European physician-scientists during the
16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries
contributed racist teachings into the medical
corpus of knowledge.
A few notables:
Paracelsus: A famous Swiss physician and
Anton van Leeuwenhoek: Father of
Marcello Malphighi: Father of Histology
Hottentot Venus Lady
Exploitation of Saartjie Baartman by Baron Georges Cuvier
The Round Up Period
The Slave Ship
Living Africans Thrown Overboard
The Slave Ship Zong in 1781
Transatlantic Slave Period
The Assault on Black
Humanity Continues
American Health
Professional Contribution
to Racism in Medicine
Benjamin Rush, M.D.
The Beginning of
Women’s Health
Father of Gynecology – J. Marion Sims, M.D.
Medically Prescribed Punishment
First Black Health Reconstruction Period
Organized Medicine’s
Race-Based Policies
Three periods of AMA official rejection
of Black physicians:
1. June 1869 — the Medical Society of the District
of Columbia.
2. May 1870 — at the 21st AMA National
Convention in Washington, D.D.
3. In 1872 — the AMA Convention again rejected
a similar biracial delegation.
Nineteenth-Century Academic
Thinking on Race
Nathaniel Southgate Shaler (18411906)
Joseph LeConte (1823-1901)
Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897)
National Medical Association
The Civil Rights Era
The Second Black Health
Reconstruction Period
The 1964 Civil Rights Act, hospital
desegregation court rulings, passage of
Medicare and Medicaid and the health
centers movement, all created a “Civil
Rights Era” in health care for Blacks.
This initiated the Second Black Health
Reconstruction Period from 1965 - 1985.
“The Slave Health Deficit”
A National Crisis
35% more Blacks than the general population
die from cancer each year.
40% more Blacks than the general population
die from heart disease each year.
35% of Black men suffer with hypertension
compared to the national average of 25%.
Diabetes Mellitus is 70% higher among Blacks.
Blacks suffer much higher rates of ESRD but
Whites are twice as likely to receive a life
saving kidney transplant.
The impact of HIV/AIDS, violence, substance
abuse, unintentional injuries, infant mortality
& many other preventable conditions is
greater for Blacks.
Causes for the Ethnic
Health Disparities
Inadequate Access
Genetic Differences
Dietary Habits
Unhealthy Life
Health Care
Systems &
Racial Bias
Modern Racism in
Health Care
An Unspoken “Risk Factor” for the
African American Health Deficit and
Ethnic Health Disparities in the United
“Of All Forms of Inequity,
Injustice in Healthcare
is the Most Shocking
and Inhumane.”
- Martin Luther King
The Evidence for
Modern Racism
in Medicine
“Health Care Racial Profiling”
Racial Bias in Medicine
“Health Care Racial Profiling”
JAMA, 1994: A study in Los Angeles revealed :
“Hispanic patients were twice as likely as
white patients to receive no analgesia when
presenting to the ER with a fresh bone
The Annals of Emergency Medicine, Jan. 2000
(Emory University School of Medicine)
concluded that “Black patients with broken
arms and legs were less likely than white
patients to receive painkillers when presenting
to an Atlanta ER.”
Racial Bias in Medicine
“Health Care Racial Profiling”
“Race, quality of care and prescribing
practices in psychiatric emergency
services”, Psychiatry Service: March,
Conclusion – “Clinicians, mostly
Caucasian, prescribed more psychiatric
medications to African Americans than to
other patients and devoted significantly
less time to their psychiatric evaluations.”
“Health Care Racial Profiling”
The Schulman// Georgetown
Cardiovascular Study (NEJM:Feb. 1999).
The Lung Cancer Sloan-Kettering Study
The Renal Transplant Harvard Study
(NEJM: Nov. 1999).
Health Care Racial Profiling
Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard
Medical School Study, “Quality of Care by Race
& Gender for CHF and Pneumonia”, by Ayanian,
et al (Medical Care Dec. 1999, 37(12):1260-9)
The Michelle van Ryn Study, “Effects of Race
and SES on Physicians Perception of Patients”
(J. Social Science and Medicine: March 2000)
Yale University Cooperative Cardiovascular
Project, “Racial Differences in the Use of
Cardiac Catherization after Acute Myocardial
Infarction”, by J. Chen, et al
(NEJM, May
2001, Vol.344)
Defining Racism
Camara Phyllis Jones gives a theoretical
framework for understanding and
defining racism.
Internalized Racism
Personally Mediated Racism
Institutionalized Racism
Health Policy and
Research Institute
Health Institute Centers
African American Health Center Think Tank
Health Policy and Advocacy Center
Research, Surveillance and Educational Center
Community/Public Media Information Center
Mobilization and Participation Action Center
Understanding Racism
through Jazz
A Question to Explore
Is there a correlation between the centuries-old racist theories taught by
the western medical profession and the current studies that reveal
persistent race-associated differential health status and outcomes based
upon the degree of melanin in the population?
Health Disparities the
Vision for the Future
The Hope and The Future
We will, We can, and We
must stop the insanity of
“Insanity is when we keep
doing the same thing and
expecting a different
by Albert Einstein
presented by Ariannah Hood

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