Race and Health


How is racism related to health?

Watch sociologist David Williams’s TedTalk “How Racism is Making Us Sick” (1) - (17min)

What is implicit bias?

Watch New York Time’s “Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism” (2) - (3min)

If you are interested, try the Harvard’s Project Implicit quiz (3) - (~10min)

How does race affect health outcomes?

Listen to WNYC’s “Black Mother’s Face Higher Complication Rates” (4) - (7min)

How does race affect medical practice?

Watch civil rights sociologist and law professor Dorothy Roberts’ Tedtalk “The Problem with Race-based Medicine” (5)(14min)

Why should physicians think about racism?

Watch NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett’s TedTalk (6) - (13min)


How is this relevant to Harlem Hospital?

Harlem Hospital’s patient population is 44.5% African American, 40.8% Hispanic, 9.5% White, 3% Asian, and 1.7% other (7). Racial disparities in health are reflected in the high rates of certain health outcomes amongst this population. Central Harlem also has the 3rd highest infant mortality rate at 8.1 per 1,000 live births compared to 3.4 per 1,000 in Manhattan overall (8). Central Harlem also has the 7th highest premature mortality rate in NYC at 293.1 per 100,000 compared with 152.7 per 100,000 in Manhattan overall (8).

How is this relevant to The Allen Hospital?

The population of Washington Heights and Inwood is 71% Hispanic, 17% White, 7% Black, 3% Asian, and 1% Other (8). Almost 50% of residents are foreign-born, and 39% have limited English proficiency.8 With a high proportion of immigrants, 22% of residents have no insurance compared to 15% of residents in Manhattan, and 16% went without needed medical care due to insurance compared to 10% in Manhattan overall (8). Despite these barriers to access health care, residents of Washington Heights have a life expectancy of 83.2 years, more than 8 years higher than the life expectancy in Central Harlem (8). 

How is this relevant to Stamford Hospital?

The Stamford population is 50% White, 27% Hispanic, 13% Black, and 10% Other (9). Despite being a relatively affluent community, racial disparities in health outcomes persist. In Connecticut overall, the all-cause age-adjusted mortality rate is 737 per 100,000 for Black residents compared to 643 per 100,000 for White residents and 529 per 100,000 for Hispanic residents (10).


If I am interested in this topic, where can I learn more?

Check out Science Friday’s podcast “The Health Costs of Racism” (11) - (17min)

Professors in psychology and social work discuss the negative health outcomes associated with experiencing racism throughout a lifetime.

Check out Dr. Camara Jones’s TedTalk “Allegories on Race and Racism” (12) - (20min)

Dr. Jones, a family medicine physician and public health professional, explains types of racism and the role of physicians in combating racism through allegories.

Check out Invisibilia’s podcast episode “The Culture Inside” (13) - (56min)

This podcast explores the psychology of implicit bias, the development of the implicit bias test, and how individuals try to re-program their internal concepts of race.



1.       Williams, D. R. How racism makes us sick. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from https://www.ted.com/talks/david_r_williams_how_racism_makes_us_sick

2.       Reshamwala, S. Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000004818663/peanut-butter-jelly-and-racism.html

3.       ProjectImplicit. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

4.       Black Mothers Face Higher Complication Rates When Delivering Babies in NYC. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.wnyc.org/story/black-women-high-complication-rates-delivery/

5.       Roberts, Dorothy. “The problem with race-Based medicine.” TED: Ideas worth spreading, www.ted.com/talks/dorothy_roberts_the_problem_with_race_based_medicine/transcript?share=117a79f8ca.

6.       Bassett, M. Why your doctor should care about social justice. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://www.ted.com/talks/mary_bassett_why_your_doctor_should_care_about_social_justice

7.       HARLEM HOSPITAL CENTER - nychealthandhospitals.org. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/harlem/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2016/08/chna-harlem-2013.pdf

8.       New York City Community Health Profiles. Retrieved February 21, 2017, from https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/data/data-publications/profiles.page#mn

9.       2016 Stamford Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment. Retrieved January 07, 2018, from http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/ohca/community_needs_assessment/chna/2016/2016_stamford_hospital.pdf

10.    Connecticut State Department of Public Health. Retrieved January 09, 2018, from http://www.portal.ct.gov/DPH/Health-Information-Systems--Reporting/Mortality/Mortality-Tables--2000-to-2014-with-74-Cause-of-Death-Codes

11.    The Health Costs of Racism. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/the-health-costs-of-racism/

12.    Jones, Camara. Allegories on race and racism. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNhcY6fTyBM

13.    Invisibilia. Retrieved November 05, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510307/invisibilia