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Lower Expectations for Black Patients Adhering to Treatments: Study

Doctors and other health care providers consider Whites more likely to follow recommended treatments than Black patients, a new study found.

The study, led by Natalia Neha Khosla, a graduate of Yale University and a second-year student at University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, also found that health care providers believe White patients would be more personally responsible for their health than Black patients.

“Clinicians tended to see Black patients as less likely to take responsibility for their health, less likely to follow treatment recommendations, and less likely to get better,” Khosla said in a statement. “Science and medicine are not invulnerable to the effects of racism, because we are humans and are shaped by our environment.”

Sylvia Perry, an assistant professor of psychology at Northwestern University, co-authored the study, “A Comparison of Clinicians’ Racial Biases in the United States and France,” which was published on the Journal Social Science & Medicine website.

“We need to continue to examine if medical providers have preferences for some groups over others, either implicit or explicit, and how that affects treatment, expectation for patient success and interactions with patients,” Perry said.

A similar study conducted in France by Perry and Khosla found no racial bias in doctor’s views about their patients’ adherence to recommended treatments.

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