AMA Study: African-Americans Distrust Doctors

April 24, 2006

"A new study published by the American Medical Society finds African Americans trust doctors less than white Americans do.

Researchers say almost 45% of African Americans distrust health care providers compared with 34 percent of whites.

The University of Illinois at Chicago's Beth Calhoun specializes in racial disparities in health care.

She sees some flaws in the study but notes that it sends a strong message.

""The information from this would prompt providers to spend a little more time with their patient, in particular the African American patient,"" Calhoun says. She added, ""the African American patient, what they're saying here is, 'we want you to listen to us, we want you to talk to us.'""

The study is based on a national survey conducted in 1999.

Its authors say better communication between doctors and patients of both races would improve their relationships.

They say another way to increase trust among African Americans is better access to doctors' offices instead of emergency rooms and community clinics."