It is no secret African-Americans have poorer health when compared to other races and sometimes receive lack-luster care and treatment. And when they do receive care, they are hardly ever greeted by a familiar face. Our main goal here at Black Doctors Ohio is to match black doctors with black patients who seek them so they can get the care they deserve and need.
When we first began offering our services to match African-American patients with African-American doctors, we were astounded by how challenging it was to locate the doctors. The only reliable or simple way to locate a black doctor in your area was word of mouth. We also realized an additional issue was the shortage of black doctors. However, there was no shortage of people searching for black doctors to go to in their area. Some people questioned why?
We received feedback from the black community in which many of them would like to see a black doctor based upon the cultural connection and comfort level of being able to have someone treat them that would better relate to their needs. As it states in an article written in January titled “Why We Need More Black Doctors“, black people need far greater access to culturally connected physicians who understand their lives and their challenges as much as their clinical needs.
Of course not all African-Americans feel the need to see an African-American doctor, but there are a great many that do. The article mentioned above is written by two African-American doctors, and as they stated, “We aren’t saying that only black doctors should treat black people. But black people should be able to find black doctors when they want them.”
Tené T. Lewis, an associate professor of epidemiology at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, published an Annual Review of Clinical Psychology that reported experiences of discrimination in regards to health care. She stated, “The overwhelming body of research on discrimination and health indicates that self-reported experiences of discrimination are an important risk factor for poor mental and physical health.”
It is well documented that better care can result for people who are able to see doctors that they feel more comfortable and connected with. Much like a woman may feel more comfortable seeing a female doctor based upon better understanding through empathy, this can be the case from a cultural viewpoint. As quoted by an experienced, veteran doctor, Dr. Damon Tweedy, author of “Black Man in a White Coat”: “When I have been particularly successful at treating black patients, it has often had less to do with any particular talent on my part than with my patients’ willingness to bring up the racial concerns that troubled them.”
Although there are those who do not have any preference to the racial or gender aspect of the physicians that treat them, there is a definite need and desire for those who do have this preference to be able to be seen by a provider who best suits them.
We hope you enjoyed this post and learned something that could help you or someone you know. We post new content weekly so stay connected! Until then, we love to hear from you so feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic above. How were your experiences with a black doctor vs a non- black doctor? Did you receive the care you needed? Visit and like/follow our social media pages (Facebook & Twitter) with more information supporting the cause of keeping the black community healthy and informed!