Why Do Black Men Have Among the Poorest Health of Any Group in America?

A new report from the Working Group on Health Disparities in Boys and Men of the American Psychological Association focuses on males from underrepresented groups and non-heterosexual males. Men from these groups have among the poorest health of any Americans. And the study found that this can be explained in part by systemic oppression and discrimination targeting these men.

Several factors work against minority boys and men, leading to higher rates of trauma, substance use, depression and violence, according to the report. The report cited statistics indicating that minority boys and men and those who identify as LGBTQI are at a higher risk for HIV and AIDS and have higher rates of suicide, smoking and being bullied and harassed more than heterosexual boys and men. They are also more often targeted for hate crimes.

Derek Griffith, professor of medicine, health and society and director of the Center for Research on Men’s Health at Vanderbilt University, who served on the American Psychological Association’s working group, notes that “these populations are particularly vulnerable because schools, criminal justice institutions, and healthcare systems are rarely prepared to deal with the unique challenges that these boys and men face, and how these males express disappointment, sadness, anger and frustration.”

Dr. Griffith joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in 2012 after teaching at the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he doubled majored in psychology and Afro-American studies. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from DePaul University in Chicago.

The report, Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic and Sexual Minority Boys and Men, may be accessed here.

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  1. Most Physicians are white, almost all are non-African American – outside of U.S. major metro areas. It’s a most personal of services. Men are perhaps the most fearful/least trusting of the genders.

    Further, has anyone studied the avg. ethnic make-up the avg. MD/DDS office staff?

    We know the history, we’ve heard the modern studies of “norms” of treatment…

    White doctor almost always all white staff…People wonder why we don’t want to go. Even when we have insurance.

    Add to that the rest of life as we know it, what we do to ourselves, lifestyle, and what others bring. Where’s the mystery?

    • Mark-
      Blacks need to take iinitiative in their health. That means nutrition, exercise, good sleep, and living stress-free lifestyle. Seeing a doctor should only be for check-up prodecdures or a severe, near dealth accident. But, we know about tthat hese preventative procedures are either not followed or not possible due enonomic, environmental, or personal reasons.

    • Speaking from personal experience, most black medical/dental colleges don’t want to admit qualified African American men, so that exacerbates the dearth of black male physicians and dentists. I was interviewed at Meharry Dental School and then not admitted. I was not even admitted to their Masters of Health Sciences program, which they sometimes offer students who they reject that they feel may need an extra year of academic preparation before being admitted to their medical or dental school. I was rejected by Morehouse School of Medicine for their Masters of Medical Sciences Program, which functions the same way that the aforementioned Meharry graduate program (MHS). Again, I was interviewed, but rejected. Morehouse School of Medicine actually had one of their faculty on a podcast talking about how they were seeking to enroll more black men. So, it seems to me that these female-dominated spheres of higher education at HBCU medical/dental schools screen black men out purposely. This undoubtedly tamps down the number of black men doctors and dentists.

      • Brother, I am sorry that you have not been able to pursue your dream. But, I don’t believe that schools such as Howard, Meharry and Morehouse are turning away qualified black men. I just believe it is a situation in which sisters are just outperforming brothers. A couple of weeks ago, this website published a report on this issue (https://jbhe.com/2018/06/the-large-gender-gap-in-awards-of-degrees-and-certificates-to-african-americans,) And, Nigerian Americans are outperforming us all What we have to do, is to nurture young black men and make sure that academic support systems are in place to insure that they are able to pursue their dreams. Keep trying. I am sure that you will get there!

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