Clinical trials done on black people, no black people on your health teams
If black people can be part of your research, we can be part of your staff
When I was offered a job to work in the Features department of my second newspaper job, I was intrigued. Food and Dining weren’t really my cup of tea, mainly because I’m not a foodie for anything but vegetarian recipes, but I immediately zoomed in on the Health section. I was moved around to other Features sections, but I was adamant about keeping the Health section even when a subsite was deleted. Ironically, I despised taking biology and chemistry classes in high school and undergrad, but I wanted everything to do with Health reporting and Health studies at my first newspaper job and this second one.
Sex education was my favorite one to cover as a speaker, reporter and volunteer (mainly due to hard-headed people who thought HIV/AIDS wasn’t real), and then came health studies for everything from Alzheimer’s to diabetes to sickle cell and psychology. I was fascinated by the industry. I created a Twitter page to keep track of any studies that were focused on African- and/or African-American participants. Too many studies that related to us kept getting buried on the page. Our readers were not predominantly black, but I wanted to bring attention to these posts for people in my own social circle.
However, there was one thing that started to rattle my patience. I was constantly getting tagged and emailed about patient trials on African- or African-American people to spread the word. But when I would go to these same research sights, I didn’t see one spot of melanin in the leadership team, in the partnership team, on the board and definitely not on the staff as a health care professional. As a health care reporter, I could easily fix that and start trying to find health care professionals in psychology, psychiatry, nursing, gynecology and general practice.
However, when just looking for general news that I didn’t write, I too often found that the same people who wanted to dissect black health had no interest in black employment. I could find Waldo before I could find a health care professional who would fall under the “people of color” umbrella. I honestly don’t recall ever having someone Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, etc. ever contacting me about trial studies. And I damn sure haven’t heard from any Natives. Black health care professionals were touch-and-go and usually required some digging. Come to think of it, my memory is cloudy on Asians. But white people studying black people? I got countless requests for those.