African Americans and Their Distrust of the Health Care System: Healthcare for Diverse Populations

Kennedy, Bernice Roberts; Mathis, Christopher Clomus; Woods, Angela K.
Journal of cultural diversity

"To be used in some type of experiment and then be forgotten. Why are you interested in me now?" This is one of many sentiments felt by African Americans. In one of many surveys conducted by researchers, African Americans feared they would be used as guinea pigs for medical research. This survey also found that blacks were more likely than whites not to trust that their doctors would fully explain the significance of their participation in clinical research or other studies. Many scientists believe that bad feelings make it difficult for them to recruit minorities as participants in biomedical research studies in different areas. There continues to be an underlying element of mistrust between the poor populations and minority populations that may be subjects of research and the research establishment. The perception of mistrust from the African American community is in large caused by their previous experiences with the health care system. However, the mistrust is not only in perception, but has many other reasons. Mistrust of the health care system by African Americans is a major problem that has to be addressed and corrected. This paper is a historical perspective of the African Americans relating to their distrust of research and the traditional health care system.