'Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance': Racial Discrimination Impacts Physical, Mental Health

Felicia Middlebrooks
September 20, 2018 - 7:10 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- African Americans and Hispanics in poor health, are often candidates for organ transplants; but studies that link poverty to poor health for minorities, don't tell the whole story.  Our series of special reports continue, "Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance."

In Part Four: Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance, the final report, Renee Ferguson continues her organ donation crusade, after losing her spouse of 33 years.

RELATED: 'Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance': Journalist Continues Mission To Educate Public On Gift Of Life | 'Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance': African Americans In Need Of Transplants, But Afraid To Be Donors | 'Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance': Racism Impacts Health | 'Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance': Journalist Promotes Organ Donation After Loss Of Husband

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Ohio State University Sociologist Dr. Cynthia Colen said the notion that black health is tied solely to income, overlooks the effects racial discrimination has on both the physical and mental health of people of color.

"Middle-class African Americans are still exposed to and encounter instances of discrimination and racism in their daily lives, so despite having access to higher incomes and good jobs and high levels of educational attainment, they still face unfair treatment, because of their race," Colen said.

Wealthy blacks don't fare much better. Stress leads to illness.

"Hypertension, diabetes, obesity are all the diseases that lead to these detrimental health outcomes," she said.