(516) 579-4711

Promoting
RACIAL EQUALITY in
HEALTHCARE

Everyone has the right to safe, quality healthcare that is free from discrimination. You have the right to ask questions and make decisions about your care and you have the right to have a support person, or patient advocate, of your choice.

Promoting
RACIAL EQUALITY in
HEALTHCARE

Everyone has the right to safe, quality healthcare that is free from discrimination. You have the right to ask questions and make decisions about your care and you have the right to have a support person, or patient advocate, of your choice.

A.S.K. For Your Life

t

Ask
questions until you understand the answers

z

Speak up
if something’s not right

r

Know
your body, your conditions, your medications and test results

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
in a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966

YOUR HEALTH & YOUR LIFE

African-American women are dying 3 to 4 times more often than white women during and after pregnancy. Infant mortality is twice as high. The breast cancer death rate is higher for black women even though they get about the same number of mammograms as white women. Non-white patients with broken bones receive 50% less pain medication than white patients. In many areas of medical care outcomes are worse for African-Americans. Rich or poor, educated or not, insured and uninsured- inequality in healthcare for people of color affects all walks of life.

WHY?

Healthcare professionals are not immune to the effects of subconscious bias on their thinking and behavior even though they are not consciously racist. For two decades research has shown a direct connection between racial bias and unequal treatment in healthcare.

YOUR RIGHTS

Everyone has the right to safe, quality healthcare that is free from discrimination. You have the right to ask questions and make decisions about your care and you have the right to have a support person, or patient advocate of your choice.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • With the Doctor or Nurse – talk Person to Person! Start off with a friendly greeting, making eye contact, to be sure you connect from the beginning.
  • Come to the visit prepared with a list to discuss your concerns. (See Health History)
  • Answer questions as honestly and completely as you can – If the healthcare provider does not have accurate information the incorrect problem may be diagnosed and the wrong treatment or testing may be recommended. (See Shared Decision Making)
  • Learn about your condition. Ask your healthcare provider to give written reading material. If you use the Web make sure it’s a reliable site. (See Health Literacy)
  • When a diagnosis, tests or treatments are discussed, make sure you understand. Let the healthcare provider know you want to do Teach-Back. Tell them what you heard to make sure you got it right. They may need to explain more than once. (See Teach-Back and Informed Consent)
  • If there are many interruptions, very little eye contact, rushing through the visit, reluctance to answer questions, or any other signs of disrespect – Speak Up! Tell your provider about your concern respectfully. For example: “Doc, you must be very busy today – Do you have time to help me?”
  • If communication with your healthcare team is not clear or caring, and speaking up about it does not resolve the problem, you may want to find another healthcare provider.

Glossary / Definitions

Health History

An up-to-date and detailed collection of information about a person’s past and present physical and emotional or psychological health, and their family health history. It includes current ailments, allergies, medication, vitamins/supplements, past illnesses, injuries, hospitalizations, surgery, test results, and treatments.

Health Literacy

The ability to obtain and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Teach-Back

Understanding is confirmed if the patient can repeat correctly to the healthcare provider what was said.

Shared Decision Making

When the patient and their healthcare provider make decisions together, taking into account the best medical evidence available and the patient’s values and preferences.

Informed Consent

When a patient agrees to undergo a treatment, test, surgery or procedure after being given information and an explanation of the risks, benefits and alternative choices.

Leslie and Beverly, African American healthcare professionals, discuss what they have learned about unequal treatment and suggest solutions for patients.

In “ask for your life” the patient is confused by her doctors explanation.

In “teach back” the patient is concerned the doctor may be rushing and not focused on her care.

In “start over” the patient speaks up when the doctor assumes she has the same problem, treated unsuccessfully, in the past.