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Invisible Visits: Black Women in the American Healthcare System

Although the United States spends almost one-fifth of all its resources funding healthcare, the American system continues to be dogged by persistent inequities in the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities and women. Join Tina K. Sacks and her colleagues for a discussion about black middle class women in the American healthcare system. Tina K. Sacks, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford University Press, 2019). 

Invisible Visits analyzes how middle-class Black women navigate the complexities of dealing with doctors in this environment. It challenges the idea that race and gender discrimination—particularly in healthcare settings—is a thing of the past, and questions the persistent myth that discrimination only affects poor racial minorities. In so doing, the book expands our understanding of how Black middle-class women are treated when they go to the doctor, why they continue to face inequities in securing proper medical care, and what strategies they use to fight for the best treatment (as well as the consequential toll on their health). Based on original research, the author shines a light on how women perceive the persistently negative stereotypes that follow them into the exam room, and proceeds to illustrate that simply providing more cultural competency or anti-bias training to doctors will not be enough to overcome the problem. For Americans to truly address these challenges, the deeply embedded discrimination in our prized institutions—including those in the healthcare sector—must be acknowledged.