African American Community in the Health Care Context


The scopes of modern health care promotion have nowadays reached a new level due to the elements they encompass in order to provide people with high-quality care. Thus, one of the most significant aspects of today’s health care is the notion of cultural competence in terms of medical intervention and public health. Indeed, researchers claim that practitioners paying attention to the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the patient are more likely to obtain positive intervention outcomes (Harrison et al., 2019). However, the major idea of cultural competency goes far beyond the acknowledgment of culture on the level of interpersonal communication, as it also encourages researchers to define health predispositions and specifics for every ethnic group. In such a way, it is possible to avert the complications of one’s ethnic health history and provide treatment in a timely manner. Hence, the primary goal of the present paper is to conduct a qualitative overview of the health care specifics related to the health status of the African American community. The overview will cover both the socio-economic and health barriers of the ethnic group.

Community Overview

African American ethnic group has now become a significant part of the overall US population. According to the US Census data, African Americans constitute more than 13% of the state population, or more than 40 million people (US Census Bureau, 2019). However, despite the demographics, the history of African Americans in the US remains rather challenging even nowadays, when much effort is pooled towards antiracism policies and equity promotion. Hence, decades of discrimination and lack of recognition in society have inevitably affected the community’s health patterns. When speaking of today’s health of the African American community, it should be mentioned that over the past seventeen years, the mortality rates within the group have decreased by almost 25% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017). Although such data demonstrate the advancements in the field, it is still important to outline some of the major health and social disparities that affect current health care patterns for the community.

Health Disparities and Nutritional Challenges

Over the years of living in a discriminatory environment, the health peculiarities of African Americans have been modified under the conditions of poor mental stability and high-stress levels. The latest research related to the COVID-19 outbreak demonstrates that the US health care system still struggles to recognize the higher rates of risk factors and showcases the lack of cultural competence toward ethnic minorities (Owen, Carmona, & Pomeroy, 2020). As a result, African Americans, as an ethnic group, do not receive proper attention in terms of their disease predispositions. According to the CDC (2017), African Americans obtain such health disparities as a higher risk of death caused by heart disease among people aged 18-49 and 50% higher chance of having high blood pressure. Moreover, they are more likely to have heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, especially among people aged 50 and more, and higher risk of dying at early ages.

Considering the aforementioned data, it would be safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of these precedents take place due to health care professionals’ inability to recognize the assess the risk scopes. When speaking of nutrition patterns, it should be mentioned that current diet patterns depend greatly on the individual’s income, as some people fail to follow a balanced diet because many products in this category go beyond their financial capabilities. Thus, in order to define the matter of nutritional challenges, it is necessary to dwell on the socio-economic barriers existing today for the African American community.

Socio-Cultural Barriers

Although nowadays, the socio-economic status of African Americans has been steadily growing in the global context, there are still issues that should be tackled in order for the ethnic group to feel safe and respected. Thus, according to the statistical data, the first challenging socio-economic aspect for the community includes unemployment. When speaking of the age group ranging from 18 to 34, the unemployment levels are almost twice as high when compared to the white representatives of the same group (CDC, 2017). The vast majority of unemployment cases are highly related to implicit racial bias. Another significant issue is poverty. Almost 20% of African Americans struggle with the inability to sustain themselves financially, with roots of the issue coming back to the unemployment rates. Triggered by the first two challenges, alarmingly high rates of African American residents do not own a place to live, which means that they have to rent the accommodation (CDC, 2017). Such a factor contributes greatly to the stress rates within the ethnic group.

The final socio-economic disparity is health access. Financial hardship rates within the community lead to nearly 20% of African Americans having no ability to obtain quality health care due to underinsurance or absence of insurance whatsoever. When correlated with the fact that this group is at much higher risk of having a chronic heart condition, it may be concluded that African Americans face some major challenges in terms of health care and promotion. Considering the aforementioned precedents, it may be rightfully concluded that African Americans have many issues in terms of sustaining a healthy lifestyle, as many of them have no access to health enhancement options, including nutrition.

Health Promotion

In order to combat the issue of health care limitations for the African American community, it is of paramount importance to address the issue at its core. For this reason, the most efficient strategy in terms of health promotion would be to ensure that proper measures are taken to eliminate systemic racism (Muvuka et al., 2020). In such a way, African Americans will be entitled to better education, financial opportunities, and mental health status, creating a foundation for proper health rates.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Considering the quantitative data in terms of health risks among African Americans, the most efficient health promotion approach should tackle the secondary level of prevention. Thus, in order to anticipate and eliminate the risks of such chronic conditions as cardiac disease and diabetes, African Americans are to undergo heart rate and blood sugar screenings with the help of public initiatives. When promoting regular check-ups, health professionals recognize the cultural peculiarities of the patients and help them reduce the chances of disease emergence.

Health Promotion Theory

Such issues as systemic racism and implicit bias manifestation in health care should be addressed through social relationships, as once the root of the problem is examined, the overall outcome would be beneficial for healthcare. For this reason, as far as the African American community is concerned, it would be appropriate to employ social-ecological theory that examines the causal effect of the individual’s connection to the social environment (Eriksson, Ghazinour, & Hammarström, 2018). This theoretical framework will help practitioners consider patient’s needs in a much broader context.


The aforementioned paper had the aim of investigating the peculiarities of health care among the representatives of the African American community. It has been estimated during the research that the modern patterns of health care within the ethnic group require proper intervention on the matter of eliminating systemic racism and preconceived feelings towards African Americans. Once the issue is resolved, the overall health rates may improve significantly, as more people will have the financial and social ability to take care of their well-being.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). African American health. Web.

Eriksson, M., Ghazinour, M., & Hammarström, A. (2018). Different uses of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory in public mental health research: what is their value for guiding public mental health policy and practice? Social Theory & Health, 16(4), 414-433. Web.

Harrison, R., Walton, M., Chauhan, A., Manias, E., Chitkara, U., Latanik, M., & Leone, D. (2019). What is the role of cultural competence in ethnic minority consumer engagement? An analysis in community healthcare. International Journal for Equity in Health, 18(1), 1-9. Web.

Muvuka, B., Combs, R. M., Ayangeakaa, S. D., Ali, N. M., Wendel, M. L., & Jackson, T. (2020). Health literacy in African-American communities: Barriers and strategies. HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice, 4(3), e138-e143. Web.

Owen, W. F., Carmona, R., & Pomeroy, C. (2020). Failing another national stress test on health disparities. Jama, 323(19), 1905-1906. Web.

US Census Bureau. (2019). QuickFacts: United States. Web.

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