A Seat At The Table: How Will A Trump Presidency Affect Black Health?

It’s been 46 days since Donald Trump was elected president by middle America. The apocalypse has indeed begun, ladies and gentlemen. He continues to threaten the environment, global relations and the economy while parading his tyrannical political policies on Twitter and at rallies where meth might be sold.

We have nearly a solid month to prepare for Doomsday.

Led by Trump, the remainders of the Four Horsemen of the new Apocalypse include Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon and an unlikely but not surprising addition, Vladimir Putin. The rest of the Death Eaters (his hand-picked cabinet) makes Lord Voldemort’s resemble puppy breeders.

Destruction. Pure destruction, folks.

An abjectly foul and mediocre businessman, who couldn’t successfully manage his own company, is now in charge of overseeing more than 300 million lives. A reality television star with no experience, educational background, or even an idea of the Constitution will be picking a Supreme Court Justice. Be clear, the president-elect of the United States of America does not understand the Constitution of the United States of America. He challenges those expressing their first amendment rights daily, through Twitter, of course.

Cherish this time with your family, folks.

<em>Doomsday clock</em>
Doomsday clock

The mental, physical and emotional health of our nation is at jeopardy now, more than ever. All at risk: women’s health, Medicare, Medicaid, preventive health, elderly care, the uninsured, the underinsured, mental health, vaccinations, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment... essentially everything.

The same men who shout God, duty and country are the antithesis of all three, and they finally have their moment to wreck havoc on the already fundamentally flawed health system and rights of all citizens. For instance, middle and suburban America has an opioid epidemic slowly suffocating its citizens. In Indiana, a state that has high injection drug usage, Mike Pence as governor allowed an HIV outbreak to occur because of his personal beliefs. Eventually he budged and allowed safe needle exchange after hundreds of people were infected with HIV. He also led a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in his home state, leaving many poor women of all colors without women’s health.

Abortion laws are being quickly passed throughout conservative states that punish a woman for expressing her Constitutional right to have an abortion; because every conservative seems to believe instead of minding their own business and that of their families they have the right to regulate what brews in another woman’s uterus. The rights of the LBGTQ community are again under scrutiny. We tout and praise those who serve our country proudly but every day we fail them in their continued mental, emotional, and physical health needs. If these mindsets and ideologies run rampant in “communities that matter” what about historically impoverished, underserved, and minority communities?

How will minority health matter in the upcoming years, and where will our place in all of this lie?

As far as we know, the cronies are ready to round us up into the ghettos we all escaped from. We obviously do nothing but dodge bullets, look for our fathers who abandoned us, and yearn for the love of our crack headed mothers. Y’all also know we can’t read good.

I recently presented an article to my research colleagues from the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Structural Racism and Supporting Black Lives-The Role of Health Professionals.” Historically, African Americans have disproportionately had negative health outcomes. The article addresses structural racism in health care.

I like my coworkers a lot, but I went into that conversation ready to risk it all for the culture, my probationary period had passed. I won’t lie; I was surprised, impressed, and oddly proud my white co-workers actively listened as well as took the feedback I provided. They did not defend their privilege but digested the words of the piece and personally evaluated how they could make their daily interactions with patients of color better.

The article describes that a root cause of health disparities amongst African Americans is systemic racism that has shaped research and clinical practice. This in turn, has created a narrative that portrays African Americans with negative implicit bias amongst health professionals, which creates a continuum of subpar health treatment. The main solution proposed was to have an honest conversation about the root causes that drive deficiencies in health care for African Americans and other minority populations, addressing racism directly. For instance, how do we address a patient’s failure to comply with treatment, while looking at the social or economic determinants that brought them to non-compliance?

What happens when that conversation no longer seems to be a viable option on the table?

If current affairs have taught me anything, it is that white conservatives are scared and they will not stop until they feel the comfort of their privilege once again.

I am a strong proponent of self-sufficiency within the community. My dream for the black community is that we can somehow function independently of established entities that have systematically oppressed us. Division within our community hinders us; every time we have come together in masses, we have positively changed the outcome. We collectively need to invest and support in one another. Despite the continued black excellence that reigns supreme every day, the threat to our overall mental, physical, and emotional health during this time is an area we now to need to collectively brace ourselves for.

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