January 26, 2024

Dr. Mike's Top of Mind

Looks like COVID-19 infections are here to stay, but you might be feeling way too relaxed. Masks are coming off, the third booster isn't as popular, and people aren't even bothering to test despite having suspicious symptoms. The CDC suggests that, out of every 25 people in a room, it is estimated one person has an active COVID infection.

Sadly, people are still losing their lives to this virus. The African American community is bearing a disproportionate burden, accounting for nearly 20% of deaths despite making up only 13% of the population. And let's not forget about long COVID, affecting 5% to 10% of patients with headaches, focus issues, palpitations, and respiratory problems.

No one, especially people of color, can afford to let our guard down. New variants keep popping up, and it's not far-fetched to think that one of these viruses could overpower that spike protein, triggering yet another global pandemic.

Thankfully, there is a cure once COVID-19 is identified. But a study mentioned below suggests- that Black patients were 36% less likely to be prescribed this drug, while Hispanics were 30% less likely. Many patients are unaware of this treatment, and things could worsen if they have to pay for the treatment that the government provides for free now. 

So suggest to you that COVID-19 isn't going anywhere, and future viruses may affect us in the future. Stick with the masks, get that booster shot, keep testing, and get treatment, if appropriate, if you have symptoms of an active COVID infection.

Stay Healthy,

Dr. Mike

If you find our Ethnic Health Reports informative and useful, please forward and share this email to your friends and family. #TogetherInThis 🙏

This Week

And Black America: Issues Affecting the Unique Health Challenges of Black Americans

  • Race Should be Included as a Parameter in Research
  • Racism Made me Tired, but Apparently also Anxious
  • AI in Health Might Not Work Well for People of Color

Dexter Scott King Dies from Prostate Cancer

January is Cervical Cancer Month

What to Do if You Have Symptoms

And Black America: Issues Affecting the Unique Health Challenges of Black Americans

Race Should be Included as a Parameter in Research

An article from the New England Journal of Medicine, once again takes on the argument that race has no place in research.

Advocates of removing race from algorithms often argue that genetic ancestry is hard to identify and social determinants of health, hard to quantify and so we must collect better data. But this article begs to differ.  

I believe that as a Black American, as long as I am in a category that has an increased risk to my health, I want someone to pay attention.

Racism Made me Tired, but Apparently also Anxious

Researchers from the Survey on American Life discovered that racial discrimination was linked to a higher likelihood of having an anxiety disorder, but the specific disorders associated with discrimination varied between men and women. For African American men, more experiences of discrimination were associated with a greater likelihood of having Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia (involves fearing and avoiding places or situations that might cause panic and feelings of being trapped, helpless or embarrassed) within the past year, and a higher likelihood of experiencing any anxiety disorder across their lifetime.

In contrast, African American women who reported more frequent experiences of discrimination were more likely to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder within the past year. Over their lifetimes, these women were more likely to experience a range of anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, beyond those seen in men. Sadly, most of this anxiety goes untreated.

AI in Health Might Not Work Well for People of Color

Population and public health are in the midst of an artificial intelligence revolution capable of radically altering existing models of care delivery and practice. It can also reflect the biases present in our collective conscience. This paper gives some examples of how collective bias affect data driven reflections about certain groups.

Why Is This Important? AI is the future, no doubt. But here's the catch - its formulas can sometimes mirror the biases we often see in healthcare, especially when it comes to people of color. This means that decisions based on flawed information can lead to unreliable conclusions. Garbage in, garbage out. So, it becomes our responsibility, especially for those working with high-risk populations, to ensure that guidelines, like the ones mentioned in this article, are implemented. This way, we can prevent these biases from influencing medical decision-making.

Dexter Scott King Dies from Prostate Cancer

Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has died, The King Center confirmed in a statement that the 62-year-old civil rights activist died Monday after a battle with Prostate Cancer.

This is a reminder that even though there have been great strides in the treatment of Prostate Cancer, it is still the second leading killer of Black men. So my recommendation is to at least get a PSA and if it is suspicious, opt for the MRI so, once the diagnosis is made, you have several options for management. But the earlier it is picked up the better the outcome. For more information go to our website at aawellnessproject.org or listen to our podcast on Prostate Cancer at Black Doctors Speak.

January is Cervical Cancer Month

Globally, Cervical Cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes Cervical Cancer. People can pass this virus on through skin-to-skin contact, such as sexual intercourse, skin-to-genital contact, and oral sex.

While there are more cases of Cervical Cancer in white women, when the statistics adjust for population, Hispanic women are most likely to develop this form of cancer. Black women are the second most likely demographic to develop Cervical Cancer. While there are more cases of Cervical Cancer in white women, when the statistics adjust for population, Black women are the second most likely demographic to develop Cervical Cancer. While the mortality rates of Cervical Cancer have been declining for several years, Black women are still 80% more likely to die from this form of cancer than white women. A pap smear makes the diagnosis.

Read more from BlackDoctor.org on the warning signs of Cervical Cancer. Check out the link and the diagnosis made by a pap smear.

What to Do if You Have Symptoms

The African American Wellness Project has a Symptom Checker on our website at www.aawellnessproject.org. Healthwise has chosen AAWP as a partner and they have provided some of the most relevant health information in the country so, if you have symptoms, check it out. Make your doctor visits more effective and/or save yourself a visit.

If you have a medical condition, we have talked with the nation's experts on almost all common conditions affecting Black Americans, so visit our podcast Black Doctors Speak.

For more information, go to our website at www.aawellnessproject.org. or listen to our podcast at Blackdoctorsspeak.org on any podcast platform.

Please consider donating to help fund programs like the Ethnic Health Report, the Black Doctors Speak Podcast, and the FB Lives & panels.

$31.25 = 1 EHR Email | $500 = 1 BDS Podcast | $5,000 = 1 FB Live/Panel

Please Help Fund the Ethnic Health Report


Subscribe to the Ethnic Health Report

About the Editor

Dr. Michael LeNoir is just your neighborhood doc — a world-renowned allergist, a board-certified pediatrician, recognized expert on asthma in inner cities, and the President and Founder of AAWP. Serving the Bay Area since 1977, Dr. LeNoir has dedicated his career to helping African Americans navigate a healthcare system he saw first-hand that is fundamentally build on racial biases. Read More

X Share This Email
LinkedIn Share This Email
Facebook        Twitter        Instagram