University of Alabama Birmingham Scholars Develop Pallative Care Protocols for Blacks

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created the first culturally based protocol for patients living with a serious illness or facing end-of-life care. The protocol was developed by Ronit Elk, a researcher in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at the university.

The authors of the protocol write that African Americans, when compared with Whites, are more likely to receive medically ineffective, poor quality, and high-cost palliative care, due to general mistrust of health care providers and a fragmented health care system that is generally insensitive to cultural differences that can guide treatment choices. Where middle-class Whites may emphasize individual choice, African American values support family-centered decision making. Faith, spiritual beliefs, and guidance of a spiritual leader are very meaningful to African Americans, especially as they cope with illness and make treatment decisions.

“End-of-life care values in the United States are historically rooted in values that represent the cultural and religious values of the White middle class, values that often do not apply, or even contradict, the values of people of different cultures or ethnicities,” Dr. Elk said. “Lack of respect for cultural differences may compromise care for seriously ill minority patients. Until recently, culturally appropriate models of palliative and end-of-life care have not been available in the United States.”

The protocol is now being implemented in rural hospitals in Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina to test the efficacy of the culturally-based intervention.

“This is an example of what is possible when health care providers truly listen to the voices of underserved or underrepresented groups and build health care programs based on those communities’ cultural values and preferences,” Dr. Elk explained.

The protocol was published on the website of the journal Health Equity. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

AI Teaching Assistants Are Coming to Morehouse College

The AI teaching assistant initiative aims to provide students with an office hours setting they can access at any time, even when their professor is unavailable. Over the next three to five years, Morehouse hopes to establish an AI teaching assistant for every professor at the college.

Five African American Scholars Appointed to New Faculty Positions

The new faculty appointments are Judith Byfield at Cornell University, Nikki Hoskins at Harvard University, Edda Fields-Black at Carnegie Mellon Universityin Pittsburgh, Shawn Utsey at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wiley University Launches New Honors College for Fall 2024 Semester

The Heman Sweatt Honors College will provide students with access to a dedicated living community, specialized classes and research opportunities, faculty mentors, and financial aid for tuition, internships, and study abroad experiences.

Two Black Historians in Higher Education Receive Prestigious Dan David Prize

Keisha Blain of Brown University and Cécile Fromont of Harvard University have received 2024 Dan David Prizes for their outstanding achievements as academic historians.

Featured Jobs