african-american health

When Arline Geronimus was a student at Princeton University in the late 1970s, she worked a part-time job at a school for pregnant teenagers in Trenton, N.J. She quickly noticed that the teenagers at that part-time job were suffering from chronic health conditions that her whiter, better-off Princeton classmates rarely experienced. Geronimus began to wonder: how much of the health problems that the young mothers in Trenton experienced were caused by the stresses of their environment?

Lack Of Mental Health Services In Predominantly Black Schools Creates Detrimental ‘Domino Effect’

Dec 28, 2017
Salvation Army USA West / Flickr

For many black school-age youth, mental health needs can fly under the radar. They can lead some parents, teachers and other adults to perceive it as kids “acting out.” St. Louis Public Radio’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with Dr. Marva Robinson, a licensed clinical psychologist in St. Louis about what happens when mental health resources aren’t available in predominantly black schools.


Cancer-Coaching Grandmothers Hold Hands, Lift Spirits

Oct 26, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

When a new friend threatened to cancel her mastectomy, Ella Jones’ mothering instincts kicked in.

“I went over to the bed, and I rubbed her and talked to her, and explained in general terms what was going to happen,” said Jones. “If she had gotten up out of that bed and left, she would have never done any treatment.”


It's a Sunday morning at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a famous African-American church in the Harlem area of New York City. The organist plays as hundreds of worshippers stream into the pews. The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III steps to the pulpit.

"Now may we stand for our call to worship," says Butts, as he begins a powerful three-hour service filed with music, dancing, prayers and preaching. "How good and pleasant it is when all of God's children get together."

Zunika Crenshaw cringes as a tire swing whips her children around in circles just a little too fast. It's a sunny afternoon in the park, in Pleasanton, Calif. As her children play, she keeps a close watch on their breathing.

She says asthma is in her genes.

"You have a family, a person who has four kids, and all of them have it, including me," she says. "And then my mom has it, and my sister's two kids."

A little girl, 3-year-old Jhase, runs over to her, wheezing. Crenshaw grabs an inhaler, and her daughter breathes deeply from it.

Oviea Akpotaire and Jeffrey Okonye put in long days working with patients at the veterans' hospital in south Dallas as fourth-year medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern.

They're in a class of 237 people and they're two of only five black men in their class.

"I knew the ones above us, below us," Okonye says. "We all kind of know each other. It's comforting to see another person that looks like you."

Advocates, such as the Red Cross and YMCA say swim lessons are the most effective way to prevent drowning
City of Olathe via flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death for U.S. children under age 5, after birth defects. For youngsters under 15, only traffic accidents are responsible for more deaths by injury. And while drowning rates have declined slightly since the turn of the century, African Americans continue to die from drowning at considerably higher rates than whites.

Bishop Gwendolyn Coates-Stone of the God Answers Prayer Ministries of Los Angeles gives a sermon about preparing for the death of loved ones.
Heide de Marco / Kaiser Health News

BUFFALO — Twice already Narseary and Vernal Harris have watched a son die. The first time — Paul, at age 26 — was agonizing and frenzied, his body tethered to a machine meant to keep him alive as his incurable sickle cell disease progressed. When the same illness ravaged Solomon, at age 33, the Harrises reluctantly turned to hospice in the hope that his last days might somehow be less harrowing than his brother’s.

Years of efforts to reduce the racial disparities in health care have so far failed to eliminate them. But progress is being made in the western United States, due largely to efforts by managed care plans to identify patients who were missing out on management of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

While management of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar improved nationwide, African-Americans still "substantially" trailed whites everywhere except the western U.S., an area from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific as well as Alaska and Hawaii.