Part of the Primary Care Provider in our National Awakening to Systemic Racism

Katie Chaucer, Monika DeTurk
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash INTRODUCTION Racism makes people sick. As the United States navigates a social awakening, primary care providers (PCPs) need to join the movement by addressing the impact of racism on our society. As community leaders, all PCPs, including medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses, are morally called to combat systemic racism. PCPs need to consider how traditional treatment modalities, such as drug prescription
more » ... d lifestyle modifications, may perpetuate systemic racism and inflict further injustice upon the health of Black Americans. Furthermore, as physical healers, PCPs are professionally bound to address systemic racism as its detrimental physical effects ravage those marginalized by our racialized society. ANALYSIS The effects of allostatic overload demonstrate that racism causes physical illness. Allostatic overload refers to the physical effects of chronically adapting to negative experiences over one's lifetime.[1] It predisposes people to chronic disease, predicts an increase in all-cause mortality, and is highly correlated with racial discrimination.[2] After controlling for socioeconomic status and other adverse health behaviors, researchers have shown that Black participants have consistently higher allostatic load scores than white participants.[3] The outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically affected communities of color, demonstrating the relationship between the physical effects of allostatic load and racism. During this pandemic, Black Americans are dying at three times the rate of white Americans.[4] If we are truly committed to providing care that lives up to high ethical standards, we should start by investigating structures of inequity within our practices to improve the health of patients of color. Below, we propose a three-tier intervention strategy, employing interventions in practice, patient, and personal levels of care. At the practice level, PCPs could use their voices to advocate for patients [...]
doi:10.7916/vib.v6i.7321 fatcat:av5goqqw2ncwjkwxaf2paq6sra