Many Black Americans modify their behavior in health care settings just to receive sufficient care, according to a study titled “Listening to Black Californians” by the California Health Care Foundation.

More than 3,000 Black men and women in California were surveyed. Results showed that one in four Black patients avoid seeking health care altogether because they fear they will be unfairly treated or disrespected. A third of Black Americans who do visit health care providers said they change their behavior, including by adjusting their speech, to “put the provider at ease,” according to Scripps News.

“The problem is the institution, not Black people,” Michael LeNoir, MD, the founder of the African American Wellness Project, told Scripps. “It’s how [the system] perceives Black people, how they treat them.”

“I think most of them are embarrassed,” LeNoir said. “You know, because they were treated like that, and they accepted that simply because they were afraid it would affect outcomes. You know, make them mad, and they may not make the right decision or may not give you the kind of consideration that your problem requires.”

Many studies have demonstrated clear disparities in care for Black patients. For example, Black patients are much more likely to suffer complications from surgical procedures compared with white patients, according to an analysis published by the Urban Institute in 2021. Another study conducted earlier this year by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that older Black and Latino patients with advanced cancer were less likely to receive opioid medications for pain relief than white patients.

To read more, click #Access to Care. There you’ll find headlines such as “Black Diabetes Patients Face Barriers Beyond Insulin Price,” “Black Patients More Likely to Experience Delay in Appendicitis Diagnosis” and “Adults With Limited English Skills Have Worse Access to Health Care.”