Giving Compass' Take:

• Erika Stallings reports on a study analyzing implicit bias towards Black patients in American healthcare. 

• How does this impact the health of Black Americans? What can we do to correct these terrifying tendencies during coronavirus? 

• Learn more about the impact of racism on Black patients, specifically mothers.

Research shows that health outcomes for black patients are better when they are treated by black doctors. Currently, black men have the lowest life expectancy of any major demographic group in the United States and live on average 4.4 years fewer that non-Hispanic white men. There is also a documented maternal mortality crisis among African American women in the United States: Black women are three to four times more likely to die as a result of complications from pregnancy, labor and childbirth than white women.

A research team led by Dr. Marcella Alsan from Stanford University’s School of Medicine published the results of a study in September 2018 that tracked the impact of diversity in the physician workforce on medical decisions and outcomes among black men.

In Alsan’s study, researchers set up a pop-up clinic in Oakland, California, and recruited over 1,300 black men from local barber shops and flea markets.  Participants were surveyed about their preference for preventive services before meeting their assigned physician and then surveyed again after speaking with their physician. Patients who met with black physicians asked to receive more preventive services than patients who met with nonblack physicians.

Researchers attributed the findings to improved communication between black patients and black physicians. Patients were 29 percent more likely to talk with black male doctors about other health problems they were experiencing, and black physicians were 35 percent more likely to write notes about black patients than nonblack physicians.

The study concluded that increasing the amount of black physicians could lead to a 19 percent reduction in the black-white male cardiovascular mortality gap and an 8 percent decline in the black-white male life expectancy gap.

Read the full article about medical outcomes for Black patients by Erika Stallings at NBC News.