• Heritage Action
  • More

Is Racism the Real Culprit? What the Data Do and Don't Show

Recorded on September 24, 2002

Why the great disparity in health status between whites and minorities--primarily African Americans? One popular explanation is prejudice--in the doctor's office and throughout the health care system. Most recently, the Institute of Medicine released, "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care," a report that relied primarily on inference to conclude that the health gap exists primarily because of bias and prejudice. Even though statistical information concerning health is notoriously complex, most media coverage of the report embraced its dicey conclusions without question or criticism.

This panel will review the data purported to show "racism" in health care and discuss the limitations of the data. Panelists will also examine other factors that may contribute far more to racial health disparities--factors that must be addressed long before racism in any serious effort to eliminate the health gap.