'Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance': Racism Impacts Health

Felicia Middlebrooks
September 19, 2018 - 7:18 am

TEDMED

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chronic disease can lead to the need for an organ transplant.  African Americans are at a higher risk. Genes and environment matter, but the effects of racism are now being recognized by health experts, as we learn in Part 3 of our series of special reports, Organ Donation: A Life in the Balance.

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In our next report, a deeper look at why African Americans are generally reluctant to become organ donors.  History has had a chilling effect, with scores of documented cases in which blacks were experimented on, without their consent. 

"We had the Tuskegee experiment, the syphilis experiments, where African Americans were given the disease," said journalist Renee Ferguson.

Researchers have linked the quality of medical care and mortality to income status, but new findings indicate that's not the case for blacks.  Harvard Sociologist, Dr. David Williams in a TEDMED lecture, said there's proof, racism impacts health, whether low income or wealthy.

Watch the full TEDMED lecture below.