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Black History Month Theme
2022 - Black Health and Wellness
The importance of Black Health and Wellness is the theme for 2022.
This topic honors not only the contributions of Black intellectuals and Western medical practitioners but also other forms of knowledge (e.g. doulas, midwives, naturopaths, and herbalists) from across the African Diaspora. This year's theme examines the actions, rituals, and projects that Black communities have undertaken to achieve success.
Read more about this year's Black History Month Theme.
On the Shelf
Black Mental Health: patients, providers, and systems
Novel in its approach and unique in its scope, Black Mental Health: Patients, Providers, and Systems examines the role of African Americans within American psychiatric health care from distinct but interconnected perspectives. The experiences of both black patients and the black mental health professionals who serve them are analyzed against the backdrop of the cultural, societal, and professional forces that have shaped their place in this specialized health care arena.
Black Women's Health by
The struggles African American women and their adolescent daughters face in living healthy, active lives From heart disease and diabetes to HIV and obesity, Black women and girls face serious health risks, lagging behind their white counterparts by every measure of health, well-being, and fitness. In Black Women's Health, Michele Tracy Berger shows us why this is the case, exploring how the health needs of Black women and girls are uniquely rooted in their experiences with racism, sexism, and class discrimination. Drawing on interviews with mothers and their daughters, as well as compelling medical data, Berger provides insight into the larger patterns that place Black women at such high risk on a national level. She shows how Black mothers communicate with their daughters about health, sexuality, and intimacy, including how they attempt to promote healthy living standards even as they navigate widespread, systemic challenges. Ultimately, Berger highlights the important role that family--and specifically, the relationship between mothers and daughters--plays in improving public health outcomes. Black Women's Health takes a much-needed, intimate look at how Black women and girls navigate different paths to wellness.
Black Women and Breast Cancer: a cultural theology by
Christian theology at its core is a story about someone being in trouble. In response to this trouble, the triune God intervenes. God identifies with those in trouble, walking with them through the experience. Yet, the God of Christian theology goes a step further. God prevails over trouble. God is an overcomer. Black women with breast cancer identify with this God. They also see themselves in this theological narrative. They see themselves in the midst of troubles, troubles like racism, poverty and environmental exposures that create the disease affecting their bodies. They see the troubles of breast cancer, their biological disposition towards more aggressive cancers, later stage diagnoses, poorer prognoses, diminished quality of care and worse outcomes.
Caring for Equality by
African Americans today continue to suffer disproportionately from heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. In Caring for Equality David McBride chronicles the struggle by African Americans and their white allies to improve poor black health conditions as well as inadequate medical care--caused by slavery, racism, and discrimination--since the arrival of African slaves in America. Black American health progress resulted from the steady influence of what David McBride calls the health equality ideal: the principle that health of black Americans could and should be equal to that of whites and other Americans. Including a timeline, selected primary sources, and an extensive bibliographic essay, McBride's book provides a superb starting point for students and readers who want to explore in greater depth this important and understudied topic in African American history.
COVID-19 and the Present and Future of Black Communities: the Role of Black Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating health and economic impacts in the United States, communities of color, especially Black communities, have been disproportionately affected. On June 23, 2020, the Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a virtual workshop to discuss the landscape of COVID-19, including how systemic racism contributes to the disproportionate effects related to infection rates and mortality of this virus and other health conditions. Presenters highlighted relevant research and creative responses from many perspectives, including how Black scientists, engineers, and doctors are contributing to solutions and are ready to do more. National Academies leaders and members also discussed the role of the National Academies in addressing the pandemic and underlying issues of systemic racism that have led to health disparities in the United States. This publication summarizes the presentation and discussion of the workshop.
Health Issues in the Black Community
"The outstanding editors and authors of Health Issues in the Black Community have placed in clear perspective the challenges and opportunities we face in working to achieve the goal of health equity in America." --David Satcher, MD, PhD, 16th Surgeon General of the United States and director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine
"Health Issues in the Black Community illuminates comprehensively the range of health conditions specifically affecting African Americans, and the health disparities both within the black community and between racial and ethnic groups. Each chapter, whether addressing the health of African Americans by age, gender, type of disease, condition or behavior, is well-detailed and tells an important story. Together, they offer practitioners, consumers, scholars, and policymakers a crucial roadmap to address and change the social determinants of health, reduce disparities, and create more equal treatment for all Americans." --Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
Mary Eliza Mahoney by
Mahoney was the first African-American woman to break down the barriers and gain admittance to the nursing profession in the United States.
Patient-Centered Clinical Care for African Americans by
This title is an easy-to-read guide outlining specific differences in communication, clinical therapies, medications, protocols, and other critical approaches to the care of African Americans. The book discusses a wide range of disorders impacting African Americans and takes a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to the clinical support of providers that see African American patients. Recording the worst medical outcomes of any racial/ethnic group in America, African Americans have the highest mortality, longest hospital length of stay, worst compliance with medications and referrals, and the lowest trust of the healthcare system. Indeed, there are countless well-designed studies that validate verified differences in the clinical care of a number of pervasive diseases in African Americans, including hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, cancer, and more. Despite the widespread acknowledgement of the existence of health disparities among racial/ethnic groups, the overall outcomes for African Americans are still the most shocking. From high infant mortality to death by almost any cause, African Americans have the worst data of any other racial or ethnic group. Patient-Centered Clinical Care for African Americans, a highly practical and first-of-its-kind title, illuminates these alarming issues and represents a major contribution to the clinical literature. It will be of significant interest to all physicians, clinicians, and allied health personnel.
Race and Medicine in Nineteenth-and Early-Twentieth-Century America by
An examination of the medical experiences of African Americans During the days of slavery in America, racism and often-faulty medical theories contributed to an atmosphere in which African Americans were seen as chattel: some white physicians claimed that African Americans had physiological and anatomical differences that made them well suited for slavery. These attitudes continued into the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. In Race and Medicine historian Todd Savitt presents revised and updated versions of his seminal essays on the medical history of African Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially in the South. This collection examines a variety of aspects of African American medical history, including health and illnesses, medical experimentation, early medical schools and medical professionals, and slave life insurance. Savitt examines the history of sickle-cell anemia and identifies the first two patients with the disease noted in medical literature. He proposes an explanation of why the disease was not well known in the general African American population for at least 50 years after its discovery. He also explains why African Americans developed elephantiasis in the Charleston Low Country and not elsewhere in the country. Other topics Savitt explores include African American medical schools, the formation of an African American medical profession, and SIDS among Virginia slaves. With its new research data and interpretations of existing materials, Race and Medicine will be a valuable resource to those interested in the history of medicine and African American history as well as to the medical community.
Social Injustice and Public Health by
"An invaluable primer on how inequity breeds ill health" -New England Journal of Medicine AN ESSENTIAL WORK ON SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH, NOW UPDATED AND EXPANDED This newly revised edition of the classic text is a comprehensive, up-to-date resource for understanding and addressing the profound impacts of social injustice on public health. Across chapters from experts in health and medicine, readers learn to recognize both the threads of inequity and the health impacts they produce. The result is illuminating and essential reading for students and professionals in public health. Enriched with photographs and case examples and featuring contributions from the luminaries whose work helped define the field, Social Injustice and Public Health is a foundational text for understanding and addressing today's biggest challenges in health.
The Soul of Leadership by
The text provides first-person accounts of the lives and motivations of eleven African American nurses of outstanding achievement. Their stories present the authors' philosophies of leadership and the strategies they used to succeed, against the odds, in what had been a predominantly white profession. The stories are compelling and provide a wealth of knowledge and abundant inspiration for any young nurse of color pursuing professional career in nursing.
African American Wellness Project
The African American Wellness Project was organized to respond to the inequities in health care delivery that exists between African Americans and the rest of America. It is our belief that while good health begins with diet and exercise, once you enter the health care system, you must be organized to get the most out of it.
Black Health Matters
Black Health Matters provides information about health and well-being from a service-oriented perspective–with lots of upbeat, positive solutions and tips.
Black Women's Health Imperative
We are the oldest national organization dedicated solely to improving the health and wellness of our nation’s 21 million Black women and girls– physically, emotionally and financially.
To help healthcare and public health organizations center anti-racism and equity in the workplace and reduce health inequities in the communities they serve.
An American Health Dilemma by
At times mirroring and at times shockingly disparate to the rise of traditional white American medicine, the history of African-American health care is a story of traditional healers; root doctors; granny midwives; underappreciated and overworked African-American physicians; scrupulous and unscrupulous white doctors and scientists; governmental support and neglect; epidemics; and poverty. Virtually every part of this story revolves around race. More than 50 years after the publication of An American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal's 1944 classic about race relations in the USA, An American Health Dilemma presents a comprehensive and groundbreaking history and social analysis of race, race relations and the African-American medical and public health experience. Beginning with the origins of western medicine and science in Egypt, Greece and Rome the authors explore the relationship between race, medicine, and health care from the precursors of American science and medicine through the days of the slave trade with the harrowing middle passage and equally deadly breaking-in period through the Civil War and the gains of reconstruction and the reversals caused by Jim Crow laws. It offers an extensive examination of the history of intellectual and scientific racism that evolved to give sanction to the mistreatment, medical abuse, and neglect of African Americans and other non-white people. Also included are biographical portraits of black medical pioneers like James McCune Smith, the first African American to earn a degree from a European university, and anecdotal vignettes,like the tragic story of "the Hottentot Venus", which illustrate larger themes. An American Health Dilemma promises to become an irreplaceable and essential look at African-American and medical history and will provide an invaluable baseline for future exploration of race and racism in the American health system.
Beside the Troubled Waters by
A memoir by an African American physician in Alabama whose story in many ways typifies the lives and careers of black doctors in the south during the segregationist era Beside the Troubled Waters is a memoir by an African American physician in Alabama whose story in many ways typifies the lives and careers of black doctors in the south during the segregationist era while also illustrating the diversity of the black experience in the medical profession. Based on interviews conducted with Hereford over ten years, the account includes his childhood and youth as the son of a black sharecropper and Primitive Baptist minister in Madison County, Alabama, during the Depression; his education at Huntsville's all-black CouncillSchool and medical training at MeharryMedicalCollege in Nashville; his medical practice in Huntsville's black community beginning in 1956; his efforts to overcome the racism he met in the white medical community; his participation in the civil rights movement in Huntsville; and his later problems with the Medicaid program and state medical authorities, which eventually led to the loss of his license. Hereford's memoir stands out because of its medical and civil rights themes, and also because of its compelling account of the professional ruin Hereford encountered after 37 years of practice, as the end of segregation and the federal role in medical care placed black doctors in competition with white ones for the first time.
Black and Blue by
Black & Blue is the first systematic description of how American doctors think about racial differences and how this kind of thinking affects the treatment of their black patients. The standard studies of medical racism examine past medical abuses of black people and do not address the racially motivated thinking and behaviors of physicians practicing medicine today. Black & Blue penetrates the physician's private sphere where racial fantasies and misinformation distort diagnoses and treatments. Doctors have always absorbed the racial stereotypes and folkloric beliefs about racial differences that permeate the general population. Within the world of medicine this racial folklore has infiltrated all of the medical sub-disciplines, from cardiology to gynecology to psychiatry. Doctors have thus imposed white or black racial identities upon every organ system of the human body, along with racial interpretations of black children, the black elderly, the black athlete, black musicality, black pain thresholds, and other aspects of black minds and bodies. The American medical establishment does not readily absorb either historical or current information about medical racism. For this reason, racial enlightenment will not reach medical schools until the current race-aversive curricula include new historical and sociological perspectives.
Counseling African American Males by
A volume in African American Male Series: Guiding the Next Generation Through Mentoring, Teaching and Counseling There is no one method for doing culturally alert counseling. Instead, culturally alert counseling consists of intentionally adapting existing ways to help clients (1) understand their socially constructed worldviews through culture, (2) appreciate their various cultures, (3) to make choices about adherence to cultural norms, and (4) to recognize and respond to external bias relating to their cultural group membership.
What happens to black health care professionals in the new economy, where work is insecure and organizational resources are scarce? In Flatlining, Adia Harvey Wingfield exposes how hospitals, clinics, and other institutions participate in "racial outsourcing," relying heavily on black doctors, nurses, technicians, and physician assistants to do "equity work"--extra labor that makes organizations and their services more accessible to communities of color. Wingfield argues that as these organizations become more profit driven, they come to depend on black health care professionals to perform equity work to serve increasingly diverse constituencies. Yet black workers often do this labor without recognition, compensation, or support. Operating at the intersection of work, race, gender, and class, Wingfield makes plain the challenges that black employees must overcome and reveals the complicated issues of inequality in today's workplaces and communities.
Reclaiming Our Health by
According to the federal Office of Minority Health, African Americans "are affected by serious diseases and health conditions at far greater rates than other Americans." In fact, African Americans suffer an estimated 85,000 excess deaths every year from diseases we know how to prevent: heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. In this important and accessible book, Dr. Michelle Gourdine provides African Americans with the knowledge and guidance they need to take charge of their well-being. "Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness" begins with an overview of the primary health concerns facing African Americans and explains who is at greatest risk of illness. Expanding on her career and life experiences as an African American physician, Dr. Gourdine presents key insights into the ways African American culture shapes health choices--how beliefs, traditions, and values can influence eating choices, exercise habits, and even the decision to seek medical attention. She translates extensive research into practical information and presents readers with concrete steps for achieving a healthier lifestyle, as well as strategies for navigating the health-care system. This interactive guide with illustrations is a vital resource for every African American on how to live a healthier and more empowered life, and an indispensable handbook for health-care providers, policy makers, and others working to close the health gap among people of color. Says Gourdine, "I wrote this book to empower our community to solve our own health problems and to save our own lives."
She Can Bring Us Home by
Long before it became the slogan of the presidential campaign for Barack Obama, Dorothy Ferebee (1898-1980) lived by the motto YES, WE CAN. An African American obstetrician and civil rights activist from Washington DC, she was descended from lawyers, journalists, politicians, and a judge. At a time when African Americans faced Jim Crow segregation, desperate poverty, and lynch mobs, she advised presidents on civil rights and assisted foreign governments on public health issues. Though articulate, visionary, talented, and skillful at managing her publicity, she was also tragically flawed. Ferebee was president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha black service sorority and later became the president of the powerful National Council of Negro Women in the nascent civil rights era. She stood up to gun-toting plantation owners to bring health care to sharecroppers through her Mississippi Health Project during the Great Depression. A household name in black America for forty years, Ferebee was also the media darling of the thriving black press. Ironically, her fame and relevance faded as African Americans achieved the political power for which she had fought. In She Can Bring Us Home, Diane Kiesel tells Ferebee's extraordinary story of struggle and personal sacrifice to a new generation.
Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired by
Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired moves beyond the depiction of African Americans as mere recipients of aid or as victims of neglect and highlights the ways black health activists created public health programs and influenced public policy at every opportunity. Smith also sheds new light on the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment by situating it within the context of black public health activity, reminding us that public health work had oppressive as well as progressive consequences.
Born into a tenant farming family in North Carolina in 1946, Mary Louise, Mary Ann, Mary Alice, and Mary Catherine were medical miracles. Annie Mae Fultz, a Black-Cherokee woman who lost her ability to hear and speak in childhood, became the mother of America's first surviving set of identical quadruplets. They were instant celebrities. Their White doctor named them after his own family members. He sold the rights to use the sisters for marketing purposes to the highest-bidding formula company. The girls lived in poverty, while Pet Milk's profits from a previously untapped market of Black families skyrocketed. Over half a century later, baby formula is a seventy-billion-dollar industry and Black mothers have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. Since slavery, legal, political, and societal factors have routinely denied Black women the ability to choose how to feed their babies. In Skimmed, Andrea Freeman tells the riveting story of the Fultz quadruplets while uncovering how feeding America's youngest citizens is awash in social, legal, and cultural inequalities. This book highlights the making of a modern public health crisis, the four extraordinary girls whose stories encapsulate a nationwide injustice, and how we can fight for a healthier future.
Working Cures by
Exploring the charged topic of black health under slavery, Sharla Fett reveals how herbalism, conjuring, midwifery, and other African American healing practices became arts of resistance in the antebellum South. Fett shows how enslaved men and women drew on African precedents to develop a view of health and healing that was distinctly at odds with slaveholders' property concerns. While white slaveowners narrowly defined slave health in terms of "soundness" for labor, slaves embraced a relational view of health that was intimately tied to religion and community. African American healing practices thus not only restored the body but also provided a formidable weapon against white objectification of black health. Enslaved women played a particularly important role in plantation health culture: they made medicines, cared for the sick, and served as midwives in both black and white households. Their labor as health workers not only proved essential to plantation production but also gave them a basis of authority within enslaved communities. Not surprisingly, conflicts frequently arose between slave doctoring women and the whites who attempted to supervise their work, as did conflicts related to feigned illness, poisoning threats, and African-based religious practices. By examining the deeply contentious dynamics of plantation healing, Fett sheds new light on the broader power relations of antebellum American slavery.
The Color of Medicine: The Story of Homer G. Phillips Hospital
The story of Homer G. Phillips Hospital which provided state-of-the-art medical training to over two-thirds of all African-American physicians and nurses from 1937 to 1979. While its founder was mysteriously killed, the hospital in his name thrived during the most turbulent of segregated times, allowing so many people of color to achieve greatness for the benefit of humankind.
How COVID-19 Exposes Systemic Racism In America
In America, black people are almost twice more likely to die from covid-19 as white people. Economist journalists explain how the pandemic has illuminated systemic racism in America
Memphis Midwives Work to Address Racial Disparities in Care
More women in America die from pregnancy-related complications than in any other developed country in the world, and black women are most affected. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano reports on one clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, where midwives are working to facilitate better outcomes by bringing holistic care to women of color. This is part of an ongoing series of reports called “Chasing the Dream,” which reports on poverty and opportunity in America.
Until the Well Runs Dry: Medicine and the Exploitation of Black
The practice of disinterring cadavers (grave robbing or bodysnatching) for purposes of medical dissection was widespread in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. Those individuals who job was to secure bodies for the dissecting labs of medical colleges were known as Resurrectionists. During the 1800’s, Richmond, Virginia was a bustling market for the domestic trade in enslaved Africans, and as a consequence had become a literal black market in black bodies, both living and dead. African American cemeteries were especially vulnerable to the nighttime activities of the Resurrectionists and produced most of the anatomical material for the Medical College of Virginia. The legacy of grave robbing for medical dissection is so indelibly etched into the psyches of African Americans that today many long-time Richmond (VA) residents still recount stories from their childhood of warnings to stay clear of the Medical College of Virginia late at night for fear that they might be snatched away to the dissecting room never to be seen or heard from again. This documentary chronicles the history of this nefarious practice and its relationship to contemporary attitudes of African Americans towards medicine.
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