Experts look at social stressors affecting Black Americans

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - The West Virginia School of Public Health had a Medical Sociologist present on the stressors affecting Black Americans.

Around 40 students and faculty attended the event Thursday at the WVU Health Science Center.

Census data shows about 4% of West Virginians are Black.

Courtney Thomas Tobin Associate Professor at UCLA School of Public Health said, it’s important to focus on this population to improve their health.

“Black Americans face a great number of health disparities in this country as well as a number of risk factors. It’s important to focus on this group and understand the unique sources of risk and resilience to improve health among this population.”

Tobin said more research needs to be done on the topic to get a better understanding of how minorities are affected in the healthcare system. She said since COVID-19 Black Americans have had higher risk factors due to economic reasons like losing their jobs.

Jeff Coben, Dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health, said the things that impact health go beyond what we think. He said it has to do with deeply rooted ideas we have kept from the past.

“It’s not just how you might behave, what your habits might be, what your family history might be, but it’s also deeply rooted in our communities and our society’s that impact people’s health. "

Brittany Smith, a PH.D. student at WVU, said there’s a lot of distrust in the healthcare systems for minorities.

Smith said she dealt with different levels of adversity in the African American community. She said some of her health problems were overlooked by medical providers.

“As an African American woman from a rural area I feel like I have a unique cultural identity. It’s something that’s not often represented, therefore sometimes when I’m being treated or have other issues, they’re somewhat neglected, and they’re not understood. So, I don’t always receive the treatment I should and if we have more of an understanding of these different factors, we can provide better treatment.”

Courtney Thomas Tobin will also be speaking at the Eberly Roundtable on Friday, Sept. 30th from 10:30 a.m. till 12:00 p.m. at the Mountainlair in Morgantown.