Upset patient among healthcare providers.

Healing the health care gap in Dane County

The hospital is a place for healing. However, in Dane County and across the country, racial inequality and health care disparities, especially among Black patients, require some healing of their own.

By Holly Marley-Henschen, Madison Magazine

It can take on many forms in a hospital room. Dismissive and disrespectful attitudes. Longer wait times. Stereotypes about unhealthy lifestyles and diets. Assumptions about insurance that sometimes affect prescriptions.

It can range from disheartening inconveniences, like not having culturally appropriate personal care items, to dangerous outcomes, like a misdiagnosis or a recommendation for an unnecessary surgery such as a hysterectomy.

These are all examples of responses from a recent National Institutes of Health study. At a place where people go for help — often in times of great illness — racism, racial inequality and health care disparities exist, especially for Black patients.

Jacquelyn Hunt, a Madison clinical substance abuse counselor, had two hip replacement surgeries and she has chronic arthritis. She says that in the past, she’s avoided getting medical care because she felt judged based on her race. When she did get care, she didn’t always feel like she was provided what she needed. Read more …