Beyond misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and mistrust: Relevance of the historical perspective in the medical and mental health treatment of people of color

Derek H. Suite, Robert La Bril, Annelle Primm, Phyllis Harrison-Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


In this article, we discuss the relationship and relevance of the historical interaction primarily between African-American culture and the medical and mental health communities, and explore the role of historical experience in contributing to mistrust and underutilization of services by people of color. We conclude that failure on the part of practitioners to go beyond clinical history gathering to recognize and acknowledge the larger historical perspectives from which they and their patients of color draw conclusions and make decisions contributes to the mistrust of the medical and mental health communities and to perpetuation of the current climate of healthcare disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-885
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007



  • Cultural competence
  • Mental health
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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