African Americans’ Barriers to Healthcare

The Essence of the Issue

Nowadays, African Americans with diabetes still cannot receive proper diagnosis and treatment, meaning they are not provided with equal access to medical services. Researchers notice that numerous healthcare workers merely fail to recognize the need to treat all patients equally (Andropolis, 2022). Overall, according to Campbell and Egede (2020), the barriers faced by this group of patients can be divided into individual-, community-, and health system-level.

Individual Level

To address this level, there is a need to raise awareness among African Americans with diabetes and improve their quality of life. Campbell and Egede (2020) state that this level’s barriers are characterized by “factors such as age, education, and employment as well as psychosocial and behavioral factors such attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge about the disease” (p. 13). For instance, seniors rarely seek medical help, less educated patients fail to recognize the severity of their disease, and numerous fatalistic beliefs may cause poor self-management.

Community Level

Further, this group includes obstacles like reduced access to transportation, proper physical activity, and healthy food, as well as exposure to violence. To be more precise, most African Americans live in adverse and low-income neighborhoods where there are no well-organized places for sports. The environment they live in does not allow such patients to eat healthy food, which is associated with their insulin resistance (Campbell & Egede, 2020). They need to cover long distances to the nearest neighborhood with good resources but low transportation access.

Health System Level

Finally, various failures and unaddressed problems in healthcare are included in this group. For instance, these are a lack of clinical communication and support, poorly shared decision-making, providers who fail to understand and address cultural differences correctly, and reduced access to the needed medical sources (Andropolis, 2022). Risk reduction and healthy lifestyle tools are not promoted among African Americans with diabetes, and many medical workers are usually indifferent to their problems because of stereotypes and prejudice.

Suggestions to Overcome the Problem

Finally, it is possible to propose various methods and approaches to address each level and the problem in general. First, as noticed by Andropolis (2022), “sustainably funded community health worker programs and culturally relevant chronic disease management programs” can help address these health barriers (p. 3). These ways are helpful in eliminating health system-level obstacles. The nationwide quality of African Americans’ lives has to be improved greatly, and their awareness of self-management techniques should be raised to address the individual- and community levels.


Andropolis, M. (2022). The influence of healthcare systems factors on racial disparities in diabetes care barriers faced by African American patients in access to care and patient-provider relationships [PDF document].

Campbell, J. A., & Egede, L. E. (2020). Individual-, community-, and health system-level barriers to optimal type 2 diabetes care for inner-city African Americans: An integrative review and model development. The Diabetes Educator, 46(1), 11–27.

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