Racism in medicine, unfortunately, remains a reality for many families of color and of lower-income statuses across the nation and especially here in the District of Columbia, where systemic oversights in providing proper health care for African American families have contributed to the alarming levels of COVID-19, Opioid & Gun Violent deaths as well as many other underlying health conditions.
In Wards 7 & 8 there is a predominance of over 92% of the population who is African American. Additionally, over 30% of these families manage households and families with less than $15,000 of annual income. The statistics continue to change as more African-American families leave the city in search of higher healthcare and income standards. In addition, the reality of COVID-19 deaths among predominantly African-American families also is contributing to the change in D.C.’s current statistical reportings.
The District’s track record with providing appropriate standards of care to include mental health and trauma-related resources as well as the management of such for our poorest citizens and senior populations, “East” of the Anacostia River, has to date placed the livelihood of our most vulnerable citizens in a “state of emergency”. The city meanwhile is marching forward with major developmental projects and infrastructure that do not prove conducive to correcting the dangerous implications that negligent governing has and continues to create for so many families of despair. Black lives should matter beyond the sensationalized media headlines and the sound bites.
There is study after study that points to the need for TRUST in communities of color and the role that “cultural” competency plays in positive healthcare outcomes, yet the D.C. government repeatedly rejects the science and consistently contracts with corporate outsiders expecting a different result.
The citizens of Washington D.C. living under strained and impoverished circumstances are in dire need of comprehensive healthcare resourcing and solid stakeholders that are committed to the true progression of health for our African American communities & citizens.
The toxic stress that many of the families with children navigate daily is constitutionally disheartening. Enough is enough. We are looking for heroes. Won’t you stand with us?