Better Care for ‘Nobody’

Letter From the Editor
1607

My daughter recently invited me to the Detroit Public Library for an author talk by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, CNN contributor and distinguished professor of African-American studies at Morehouse College.

Hill’s book Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond weaves topics such as the deaths of unarmed citizens like Michael Brown and Freddie Gray into a troubling analysis about race and inequality in America. 

His premise that our country has an exploitable and disposable “nobody” class struck close to home: 

“In New Orleans, we saw the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina followed by a grossly unnatural government response. … In Flint, Michigan, we are witnessing this young century’s most profound illustration of civic evil, an entire city collectively punished with lead-poisoned water for the crime of being poor, Black, and politically disempowered.”

Our “Top Docs” issue has several stories that address inequalities in health care issues for urban populations. We profile Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint pediatrician who found alarming results of lead exposure, and who continues to fight for long-term solutions. We look at how portions of Wayne County are home to some of Michigan’s most polluted ZIP codes. We also talk with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, executive director of the Detroit Health Department. He and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan have been publicly speaking out about these environmental issues and their impact on area residents’ health. 

We’ve all heard that doctors are charged to “do no harm” and help patients. But at times, their “implicit bias” can get in the way. According to research, subconscious thoughts and stereotypes that a doctor might harbor can affect the care patients receive. See our story here to find out what local teaching hospitals and health systems are doing to help doctors better connect with their patients.

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