Focusing on racial disparities in health care

  • Members of Racial Justice Rising, on the corner of Main Street and Bank Row in Greenfield, holding signs promoting racial justice earlier this year. The group is sponsoring a talk on racial disparities in health care Saturday. Recorder File Photo

  • Demonstrators on the Greenfield town common show their support for racial justice Saturday, June 25.

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, November 02, 2016

GREENFIELD — Racial Justice Rising, a local racial justice group, is sponsoring a discussion on racial disparities in American health care on Saturday.

The event, which will run from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the First Congregational Church at 43 Silver St., will feature a presentation by Dr. Steve Martin, a practicing family physician and Northfield resident.

Racial Justice Rising organizer Cate Woolner said the group arranges monthly presentations to examine the “many faces” of racism.

“There’s the personal interaction, but also institutional,” Woolner said. “And the disparities in the American health care system is a great example of institutional racism in America … I think it’s important to discuss how the health system shortchanges, in this case, African American males.”

According to a Racial Justice Rising press release, Martin has been conducting research at Boston University since 2011 exploring ways to help people — especially young African Americans — with their health care during and before their reproductive years. Through Boston University, he published an article titled “The Health of Young African American Men,” among other works.

In an article Martin co-wrote for an April 2015 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, he argued that “young African American men experience little benefit from the considerable health care spending in the United States.

“Their situation reflects a poor investment and calls attention to a blind spot in policy,” Martin wrote.

The presentation will be a chance to discuss what is known about the inequities, their likely causes and potential solutions.

Woolner hopes health care providers will attend to share their own experiences with racism in the health care system, adding to Martin’s presentation.

“We would love to have allied health care providers come to this — doctors, dentists, nurses, technicians,” Woolner said. “Anyone who works in the medical field.”

“I think it will be a lively and interesting discussion,” Woolner added. “It will be eye-opening.”

To reserve free child care during the presentation, contact Racial Justice Rising at email@racialjusticerising.org with the number and ages of children. Coffee, tea and light snacks will be available.