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How Black veterans experience racial bias in mental healthcare

Patient Education
Department of Veterans Affairs Health Center
the Regenstrief Institute
the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Black Lives
Johanne Eliacin
Wizdom Powell
Winston Morgan

African American
Black Americans

Black U.S.
Black America’s

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Positivity     41.00%   
   Negativity   59.00%
The New York Times
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As the authors of the present study note, drawing on previous research:“Whites are more motivated to disavow stereotypes that cast Whites as racists, and use a higher threshold for racist behaviors, often reserving them only to behaviors and attitudes that are blatantly racist.”Consequently, to account for racial bias in a healthcare setting, researchers need to consider the experiences and perceptions of non-white people.In the present study, the researchers looked at how Black U.S. veterans perceived and experienced their treatment for mental health issues.The researchers recruited the participants from a wider study looking at what factors affect minority veterans’ access to mental healthcare. There is no one-size-fits-all response to diversity: non-white peoples are not a homogenous group, and, like all people, maintain a range of intersecting identities and experiences that affect their treatment in healthcare contexts.As a consequence, the authors stress that “a person-centered approach to care” that is mindful of “identity-threatening cues” and that fosters “strong interpersonal relationships and open communication between patients and providers” may be the first step in resolving these issues.For Dr. Johanne Eliacin, a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and leader of the research:“Most healthcare providers are committed to providing good and equitable treatment to all patients regardless of their race or sexual orientation, but doctors, nurses, and other clinicians are not immune to social and cultural influences that can lead to stereotyping and implicit racial bias — major contributors to healthcare disparities.”“We aren’t asking providers to walk on eggshells; we are encouraging them to engage in two-way communication in order to better understand the people they serve and, ultimately, to promote health equity.”In an opinion piece, psychologist Wizdom Powell, Ph.D., explains why it is time to speak unapologetically to Black America’s emotional wounds.How can we all practice genuine allyship in the fight for racial equality?

As said here by Timothy Huzar