African-American Healthcare: From Emergency To Crisis

By Dr. Richard Hackney
Special & Exclusive to The Black Business Journal


Unfortunately, current health care outcomes in the African-American community do not speak eloquently about a quality, effective methodology of addressing the critical health issues facing the community

New leadership is needed in African American healthcare. Many who we have been entrusted the responsibility for improving African-American healthcare, have failed. In 1999, as in the previous years, we recognize the fact that there is a medical crisis in our community

Unfortunately, current health care outcomes in the African-American community do not speak eloquently about a quality, effective methodology of addressing the critical health issues facing the community. In some cases, we have healthcare services that are slightly better than those in some of the so-called 'Third World' communities. We have noticed that some self-centered members of the African American community's health providing infrastructure are more focused on vainglorious titles, positions and job security than the interests of our citizens. This must not, and will not continue.

Above all else, we thank God for enlightening and empowering us for change, as we move towards the 21st century. We can no longer expect city, county, state and federal agencies alone, to solve health outcomes in the African-American community. We need more members of the African-American leadership to partner with credible, results-oriented and effective agencies to ensure that:

(1) health data is reported by ethnicity;

(2) requests are made for health outcome results to be included in all city, county, state and federally funded projects because we can no longer except minimal results from projects that are funded by our own tax dollars;

(3) a leadership position is taken in order to help design the new health care delivery system for the African-American community;

(4) new African-American health care businesses are created to solve the access and transportation barriers, in order to improve health care in the African-American community;

(5) permanent health information centers are established in the African-American community and

(6) African-American churches, colleges and organizations are included in this decision-making process.

Finally, I am concerned that some national African American leadership meetings are being reduced to entertainment and vacation opportunities. The danger remains that very few plans of action have been designed and actively pursued to positively impact African American health outcomes. Beginning this 1999, I challenge every national African American organization to include issues addressing African American healthcare outcomes in their upcoming agendas.

The Black Business Journal plans to host a health conference to address some of these concerns and seek better solutions.


*Dr. Hackney, CEO of The Hackney Group, serves as Executive Editor (Health) for The Black Business Journal. He is a also member of The BBJ Board of Health Analysts.