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American Healthcare Disparity

  • Broadcast in Health
Getting It Right With Dr Boles

Getting It Right With Dr Boles


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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a division called “Office of Minority Health”. The office was established in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama. This agency is supposed to address “the needs of Americans who may be more vulnerable because of their race, ethnicity or other factors.

Persons with private insurance or continuity of care can not appreciate what a “poor” person with limited resources are subjected to. They are made to feel inferior and their care too often is inferior. There was a term used in the emergency room where in Pennsylvania where I trained as a medical student – “GOMER” which meant “Get out of my emergency room”. This term was used among nurses and doctors to describe someone that they did not want to treat or that they felt was a nuisance. As a medical student, I worked on the Navajo Nation, and as an anxious student physician, I was quick to adopt acronyms thinking that it made me seem more profession. Well, while working with the dispatcher and ambulance receiver, I heard the ambulance drive state: “ETA 5min, AFID”.  I proceeded to inform the trauma team that an ambulance was on the way. “ETA” means expected time of arrival, but I did not know what “AFID” meant, but I repeated it anyway. Later in the shift one of the Navajo nurses took me aside and asked me why did I say “AFID” and I told her my source. She glared at me and said “AFID” means “Another F—king  Indian Down”. I was shocked and ashamed. Neither the dispatcher nor the ambulance driver thought anything of it; they were Anglo, not Indian.

Black people in America are studied as if they are a separate species. There is “wonderment” as to the causes of extreme health disparities documented repeatedly in study after study.