Discrimination and Disparities in Health: Examination of racial inequality in Nashville (The Tennessean)

Bill Frist, M.D. and Andre L. Churchwell, M.D.

The Tennessean | As city and community leaders across the country wrestle with their own roles and responsibilities in addressing racial inequality, we believe specific attention to health equity and health disparities will lead to dismantling structural racism and a roadmap for a healthier future for all.

An example of how we are beginning that focus and journey can be found in Nashville, Tennessee.  But it could just as well be any town or city in the nation. 

We’ve known for years that minorities face health disparities nationally, and in our own experiences as physicians, we’ve seen first-hand how health inequities unfairly persist in communities of color when it comes to access and quality.

In Nashville, the simple zip code of your residence could lead to a six-year decrement to life expectancy, twice the rate of unemployment and five times difference in poverty.

The challenges of unconscious bias and racism that enable health inequities must be addressed to improve health outcomes.

Thanks to the recent Nashville Community Health and Well-Being Survey, we have a clearer picture of the challenges facing vulnerable populations, especially African Americans here in Davidson County, for the first time in 20 years. 

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