There are basically three (3) reasons, in my opinion, that Black Men don’t go to the physician for regular/annual check-ups:
- The” Tuskegee Experiment” (or Lack of Trust)
- Lack of access to healthcare because of insurance and finance issues, and
- Shortage of African-American male providers
The first issue is that, since the” Tuskegee Alabama Syphyllis Experiment”, with Black Man, the medical community has never regained our confidence. Here is the thing, the medical community, in Alabama, decided to inject and NOT to treat African-American men that they infected with Syphyllis. They told a mistruth and stated that the men already had the disease. We have never bought into that propaganda.
The second issue is lack of access. Healthcare Reform to me, as a physician, is a joke! Many Black Men don’t have jobs, and subsequently no medical insurance. As a result, we are walking around with hypertension, diabetes and the dreaded Prostate Cancer! Have you ever had to go to a free clinic and wait all day just to get your blood pressure checked? We just wait until we are almost dead and then die.
The third issue is lack of African-American providers. I know for a fact that we (African-Americans) make up only 2% of all American Psychiatrists, I am sure that the other specialties are not much better. As a practitioner for 17 years, it appears that the ability to relate to the patient is essential. I understand that Sugar is Type II Diabetes. I know that “Heart Dropsy” is Congestive Heart Failure of CHF. These are facts that only a well-trained cross-cultural physician would know and this certainly matters. People want to know that you know and understand them and their pains.
Why do you think that Black Men don’t go to the doctor? Do you have a brother, father or uncle walking around with rotten teeth in their mouth? Have you have the experience of a male family member just walking around sick, eating mustard and pretending that everything will be alright? Did your father, like mine, die before the age of 70? (God’s promise to us) Please don’t get silent on this very important topic. I really need to hear your thoughts….
Picture source: http://www.singleblackmale.org/2013/01/11/how-do-unspoken-expectations-affect-relationships/