Beyond misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and mistrust: relevance of the historical perspective in the medical and mental health treatment of people of color

J Natl Med Assoc. 2007 Aug;99(8):879-85.


In this article, we discuss the relationship and relevance of the historical interaction primarily between African-American culture and the medical and mental health communities, and explore the role of historical experience in contributing to mistrust and underutilization of services by people of color. We conclude that failure on the part of practitioners to go beyond clinical history gathering to recognize and acknowledge the larger historical perspectives from which they and their patients of color draw conclusions and make decisions contributes to the mistrust of the medical and mental health communities and to perpetuation of the current climate of healthcare disparities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / trends*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Prejudice*
  • Public Health
  • United States