Epistemic Injustice in Patient-Provider Relationships and Improving Health Outcomes in African American Populations

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Theoretically, it is supposed that all physicians treat all their patients equally with the highest standard of  care.  However, research illustrates the presence of wide disparities between the health outcomes of white and black patients. The notion of race and its history serves as a platform for some of these apparent differences evident in the medical field. Even though healthcare outcomes for black individuals are observing steady improvement, the quality of care that blacks receive today is equivalent to that of what whites received forty years ago. Could these outcomes be explained by the patient-physician interaction and more specifically the possibility that physicians and medical practitioners fail to accord their patients with relevant levels of credit of credibility that their patient should have? Epistemology, the study of knowledge and justified belief provides a specific term of testimonial justice which can speak to the potentially deflated degree of credibility a physician gives a patient and can act as a factor contributing to the quality of care that patient receives.


  • Bahareh Sharafi, Student, Ross University School of Medicine