Revisiting hypertension in black Americans: The role of implicit bias in perpetuating adverse health outcomes

By: Boya Abudu

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

The prevalence of hypertension among Black Americans—Africans and descendants of the African diaspora—has been well-documented. In an effort to train competent clinicians, medical schools have increasingly emphasized the role of race in building appropriate differential diagnoses and treatment plans. During my preclinical medical school courses, it was stressed that Black Americans were at higher risk of developing hypertension than the general population. Findings from various randomized controlled trials indicate that Black Americans are minimally responsive to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, a drug typically used as a first-line agent for a new diagnosis of hypertension. I would regularly get “pimped” by my physician attendings during hospital rounds on the initial antihypertensive agent to consider for Black patients, with an acknowledgement that “everyone else” gets the standard ACE inhibitor treatment.
After completing my third year of medical school, I moved to the East Coast to pursue a degree in public health. While there, I was introduced to a 2005 BioMed Central (BMC) Medicine article during a lecture delivered by the Chair of my department….

 

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JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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About the Author: JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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