African American patients are overrepresented in poorer quality nursing homes, and research shows that African Americans residing in nursing homes “were nearly four times as likely to reside in a home with limited resources and historically poor performance than were white patients.” These disparities are a result of structural, institutional, and interpersonal bias. Nine years after the IOM's study on Unequal Treatment, the time has come for the promise of equal access to quality health to become a reality. There is no easy solution to address racial bias, but it definitely cannot be fixed through race-neutral means as evidenced by the continuation of racial disparities in nursing home care. If we are to truly address and rectify the unequal treatment of African Americans in the health care system, then Americans must eliminate the barriers erected by all forms of racial bias, which prevents African Americans from accessing health care, particularly nursing home care.
Visiting Professor, University of Connecticut, School of Law; B.A. (Honors Biology), University of Michigan, 1996; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2000; M.P.H., Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2000.