African American health

For more than a year, NeDina Brocks-Capla avoided one room in her large, brightly colored San Francisco house — the bathroom on the second floor.

"It was really hard to bathe in here, and I found myself not wanting to touch the walls," she explains. The bathroom is where Brocks-Capla's son Kareem Jones died in 2013 at age 36 from sickle cell disease.

It's not just the loss of her son that upsets Brocks-Capla. She believes that if Jones had gotten the proper medical care, he might still be alive today.

Cultural, Economic, Historical Factors Drive Black Breast-Feeding Gap

Sep 7, 2017
Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Tahwii Spicer gave birth to her son Reece almost two years ago at home with the help of a midwife. She said almost as soon as he was born, he "army-crawled" up her body to start feeding.

“He was so ravenous!” she said. “He was hungry.


Lag In Brain Donation Hampers Understanding Of Dementia In Blacks

Aug 9, 2017
Anna Gorman / Kaiser Health News

The question came as a shock to Dorothy Reeves: Would she be willing to donate her husband’s brain for research?

Jake Harper / Side Effects Public Media

This year’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration is in full swing. The event is the Expo organization’s biggest annual fundraiser, which runs through Sunday at the Indiana Convention Center.

For decades, black Americans have been dying at a higher rate than white Americans.

That's still true overall. But now there's some good news about this long, disturbing trend: The overall death rate for black Americans fell 25 percent between 1999 and 2015, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.

With focus groups, researcher looks at race, trauma and mental health in north St. Louis

May 3, 2016

New insight from a Washington University study could improve access to mental health care for African-American men. 

When cracking down on opioids means tougher access for sickle cell patients

Apr 20, 2016

Growing up, as the searing pain of a sickle cell crisis would spread through her veins, Tanjila Bolden-Myers would ask her mother if this time, it would kill her.  

“I ask her now to this day, ‘Mom, how did you look me in my face and not break? Every time I asked you that?’” said Bolden-Myers, now 38. “And she was like, ‘No, baby, you’re not going to die this time. You’re not going to die.’”

More Sickle Cell Patients Survive, But Care Is Hard To Find For Adults

Mar 23, 2016
Janoi Burgess studies for his nursing degree in his room at his home near Miami.
Liam Crotty / KHN

When Janoi Burgess was a child, he thought doctor appointments were fun.

“I used to love it because they had a section where you could play games,” said Burgess, who was born with sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder. “They were really nice and friendly.”

But when he turned 21, the South Florida resident could no longer go to his pediatric specialist. Instead, he “bounced around” to various adult primary care doctors, none of whom seemed well-versed in the details of his condition. When he had a painful sickle cell crisis two years later, his only choice was to go to a hospital emergency department, where, he says, he waited three hours for pain medication.

“They triage you based on severity, and pain is not something that they consider as severe” as other conditions, he recently recalled. “One doctor even said, ‘Your labs are OK so you’re not in pain.’ It was crazy and insulting at the same time.”

In Freddie Gray's Baltimore, The Best Medical Care Is Nearby But Elusive

Feb 15, 2016

The Baltimore health system put Robert Peace back together after a car crash shattered his pelvis. Then it nearly killed him, he says.

A painful bone infection that developed after surgery and a lack of follow-up care landed him in the operating room five more times, kept him homebound for a year and left him with joint damage and a severe limp.

"It's really hard for me to trust what doctors say," Peace said, adding that there was little after-hospital care to try to control the infection. "They didn't do what they were supposed to do."

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