It’s a shame we need a study for this, but…

Posted: January 30, 2007 in Uncategorized

it provides a missing ingredient to all the claims that the medical industry is no different today than it was during the days of the Tuskeegee experiments.

Studies Indicate African-Americans Need to Question Doctors More; New Magazine Helps Get the Conversation Started

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A recent study concludes that African-Americans are less likely than Whites to question their doctors or raise concern about their care, according to an article in the most recent edition of NMA HealthyLiving magazine. Citing the study conducted by researchers led by Dr. Howard S. Gordon of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, the article stated that reasons for the lack of communication can range from intimidation over complicated medical terminology and confusion surrounding medications to the vulnerability of sitting on an exam table in a gown.

“When we see the doctor, we are at one of our most sensitive times and are usually anxious,” Dr. Jane G. Fort, an assistant professor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville stated in the NMA HealthyLiving article. “Medical terms, medicines, prescriptions and directions can be confusing, but we also know the doctor is busy. We know there are other patients waiting and often feel we will take up too much valuable time. We may not feel sure enough to speak up and ask for explanation.”

But that is exactly what they should do. The editors of NMA HealthyLiving magazine contacted Dr. William A. Johnson, medical director for the Luck Care Center in Chicago, who provided the following list of important questions patients, regardless of race, should ask their doctors about prescribed medications:

* What is the medicine’s name and what does it do?

* When do I take the medicine?

* How long should I take it?

* How should I take the medicine?

* Are there any foods, drinks or even activities that I should avoid while taking the medication?

* Will this medication work safely with other prescription and over-the-counter medicines?

In the most recent edition of NMA HealthyLiving magazine, Dr. Johnson details the importance of asking these questions and provides other resources to help patients understand the complicated world of prescription medicine.

The National Medical Association (NMA) publishes NMA HealthyLiving magazine specifically for physicians and their patients. The publication’s mission is to spur conversations between patient and doctor, thereby improving the lines of communication. The quarterly magazine, distributed through the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices across the country, is designed to help improve the quality of health among African-Americans and other medically underserved populations. To view the current issue, as well as an archive of past issues, visit

This study goes right along with this post where asking questions is crucial. While many studies in the past have concluded that Black folks simply do not trust the medical field, I say that we tend to be too trusting by accepting what the doctor tells us as law. Yes, doctors can be very intimidating as they routinely will throw around medical terms regrading your health. But it is STILL up to you as the consumer to demand for some clarity, otherwise find another doctor.


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