4051.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 9:10 AM

Abstract #10397

Patient preference for same-race clinician

Jennifer R. Malat, MA, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, 1200 West Stadium Blvd. #5, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, (734) 665-4876, jmalat@umich.edu

As researchers attempt to uncover the source of the racial inequity in satisfaction and use of medical services, recent attention has been given to the potential importance of the race of the clinician. While racial matching between clinician and patient has been shown to improve some outcomes, the causal mechanisms remain unclear. Using data from seven focus group interviews with African Americans and whites, I present additional evidence of the importance of racial congruity and potential explanations for improved relationships between same-race patients and clinicians. The significance of having a same-race clinician is noted by both African Americans and whites who explain efforts to work with a clinician of their race. For these participants, the preference for a same-race clinician was not due to concerns about the technical competence of a different-race provider, but rather the improved interpersonal relationship that they expect from a same-race clinician. Believing that one is socially similar to one's doctor (e.g. play same sports) is important to both African Americans and whites, and these beliefs are linked to race. Increased rapport and comfort may have consequences for clinician behavior and patient decision-making about treatment options.

Learning Objectives: Recognize the importance of race in the patient-clinician relationship

Keywords: Health Care Delivery, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA