From [HERE] Black men have the lowest life expectancy of any ethnic group in the United States. Much of the gap is explained by greater rates of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, which afflict poor and poorly educated black men in particular.
But why is that? Lack of insurance? Lack of access to health care?
Now, a group of researchers in California has demonstrated that another powerful force may be at work: a lack of black physicians.
In the study, black men seeing black male doctors were much more likely to agree to certain preventive measures than were black men seeing doctors who were white or Asian.
Although 13 percent of the population is black in the United States, just 4 percent of doctors are black.
The study, published in June by the National Bureau for Economic Research, involved 702 black men in Oakland, Calif., who came to a clinic for a free health screening. They were randomly assigned to a black male doctor or one who was white or Asian.
Neither the men nor the doctors knew that the purpose of the study was to ask if a doctor’s race mattered when he or she advised these patients. As it turned out, the racial effects were not subtle.
Diabetes screening was part of the health check, and 63 percent of the black men assigned to a black doctor agreed to the screening. But just 43 percent of those assigned to a doctor who was white or Asian consented to be screened.
Some 62 percent of black men with a black doctor agreed to cholesterol tests, compared to 36 percent assigned to a doctor who was not black.