Structural racism and health care

A black woman in a mask and gloves on a city street
Studies show that black people in the U.S. have worse health outcomes than white people do. Experts say that's affecting how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts black communities.
Retha Ferguson on Pexels

Systemic racism impacts many areas of our lives, including medical care. Studies show that black people have among the worst health outcomes in the country compared to other racial groups. And experts say these pre-existing conditions are putting black communities disproportionately at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic: black people are more than twice as likely to die because of COVID-19 than white people are, according to data analysis by APM Research Lab.

Inspired by a recent conversation on black trauma, MPR News host Angela Davis talks with experts in the medical field about racial health disparities and how to fix them.


  • Rachel Hardeman is an associate professor in the Division of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She studies racial disparities in health care.

  • Nathan Chomilo is an adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, a founding board member of Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity, the Medicaid medical director for the Minnesota Department of Human Services and a practicing pediatrician and internist with Park Nicollet.

  • LaShyra “Lash” Nolen is a student and class president at Harvard Medical School. She’s also a writer and activist.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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