WSSU Center Sponsors Presentation on Medical Apartheid

August 31, 2011
   Harriet A. Washington, an award-winning medical writer and editor, will speak on her book “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” on Thursday, September 22, from 5:30 until 8 p.m. in Dillard Auditorium of the Anderson Conference Center on the campus of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).

    The program, which is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by WSSU’s Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities (CEEHD), School of Health Sciences, Center for Community Safety and the Northwest Community Care Network.  To reserve a seat for the program, call 779-7361 or e-mail by September 12.

    “The past health and healthcare history of African Americans has had its impact on the unrelenting health disparities that are evident today,” said Dr. Sylvia, A. Flack, director of the CEEHD.  “We know that the mortality rate for African Americans is higher than whites and that African Americans experience higher rates of most diseases including diabetes, obesity, strokes, and cancer. While we focus our efforts on eliminating health disparities that lead to these and other health statistics, Dr. Washington has done an excellent job of chronicling the history that has brought us to this point.”

    “Medical Apartheid” is the first social history of medical research affecting African Americans and was chosen one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2006.  Written while Washington was a Research Fellow in Ethics at Harvard Medical School, the book also acknowledges that African Americans were not the only group that has been exposed to medical experimentation in the early history of medicine in this country.  Yet, she sees that blacks were harmed to a greater extent because of slavery and racism.  

    “We know that access to medical care, particularly preventive care, is extremely important if we are to eliminate heath disparities, and that there is a level of distrust among African Americans in particular because of the history Washington recounts in this book,” Flack added.  “Having her with us to provide a historical background on this issue will certainly be enlightening and I believe an interesting presentation.”

The Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities
The Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities is an interdisciplinary, intra-institutional applied health services and research center.  Its mission is to improve minority health outcomes and eliminate health disparities within the community, state and nation through research, education and community outreach activities.

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