249395 Racism, social determinants of health and their impact on Black America: A Chinese medicine perspective

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:30 PM

Clifford Meeks, ND, LAc, MPH , Department of Alternative Medicine, Sankofa Health Systems, Portland, OR
Introduction: In Chinese medicine a community's vitality and self-awareness play a significant role in its psychological well-being. Psychological health also depicts how free the mind is meaning that whatever is necessary for the conduction of life implies the ability of the mind to act and choose accordingly. Black America has endured a history of racial oppression combined with disparaging social factors, but there appears to be very minimal discussion regarding the impact of these factors on the psychological freedom of this community.

Methods: Passages were extracted from the Huangdi neijing, the ancient foundational text for Chinese medicine. These passages were then analyzed in the context of a) Black America's history of racial oppression, b) the social determinants of health, and c) the concepts of the emotions and psyche in Chinese medicine.

Results: The psychological and emotional vitality and self-awareness of Black America are in a state of deficiency. This state of deficiency can manifest as chronic conditions that have become prevalent in Black America.

Conclusion: In the context of Chinese medicine, the inner vitality and self-awareness of a community can be significantly impacted by racism and disparaging social factors. It is essential for Black America to sustain these elements of psychological well-being as it continues to pursue communal goals and ideals that comprise a fulfilling healthy life.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Define fundamental tenets of Chinese medicine. 2. Discuss Chinese medicine concepts of the emotions and psyche. 3. Describe psychological impact of racism and disparaging social factors on Black America.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a recent graduate of an accredited Chinese medicine program where I worked on this topic for my thesis project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.