“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhuman.” – Martin Luther King 

According to the NY Times 1619 Project, “racial health disparities are as foundational as democracy itself.” Socioeconomic status and institutional racism lead to disparities across living conditions, limit access to quality health care, and contribute to chronic stress. These factors lead to shorter life spans and higher likelihood of adverse health outcomes for people living in poverty and people of color. 

Consistently, people of color have poorer health than someone who is white, even if they are of the same socioeconomic status and have similar background. Various factors influence this outcome, with implicit bias within the healthcare system contributing the higher death rates and more onset of disease in patients of color, specifically those who are black. Black individuals are discharged earlier, given fewer treatment options, subjected to lesser quality treatment, and have their pain dismissed or attributed to other causes.  

People of color also have fewer options or lesser quality access to health services due to racist systemic causes, such as redlining and segregation that lead to the concentration of wealth-related services in areas with a higher population of people who are white, and fewer people of color. 


Here are a few statistics: 

  • The infant mortality rate in Indiana for children born to black mothers is double that of white mothers (13 per 1,000 live births compared to 6.5) 
  • The maternal mortality rate in Indiana for black women is 53.4 per 100,000 (compared to white women at 41.4) 
  • 55% of black adults mistrust the healthcare system, and thus seek less treatment  
  • Black men or more likely to die from disease like heart disease, stroke, and cancer than white men 
  • In 2019, the rate of uninsured black adults in the U.S. was 14.2%, 25.7% for Hispanic/Latinx adults, and only 8.9% for white adults 


While the numbers differ by location and various other social factors, what is consistent is that people of color face massive inequities when it comes to healthcare and health in general.  


Data from: 

Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Health Care Coverage and Access | Commonwealth Fund & Starting at birth: addressing racial inequity in… | IU Health 



Today’s Challenge: Do one or more of the following


This video on the effects of implicit bias in healthcare: How Does Implicit Bias Affect Health Care?


This article discussing and portraying health disparities in Indiana by county: Population study finds striking disparities in health behaviors and screening in Indiana


this article from Purdue University on the impacts of healthcare disparities amongst the black community


To this podcast episode presented by the Indiana Minority Health Coalition on how they help fight health disparities