Health Promotion in the African American Community

Health Status: Comparison

At present, the health status of the African American community members gives several reasons for concern, substance abuse, mental health issues, and chronic diseases being the core problems (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). For example, the rate of illegal substance abuse in African Americans made 12.4% in 2014, whereas the national average was 10.2% (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015). Therefore, measures for improving the current health status of African American citizens have to be taken. For this purpose, a program aimed at participation in health policymaking needs to be designed.

Barriers to Health

The factors that currently prevent African Americans from accessing the available healthcare services and manage threats to their health include socioeconomic and sociocultural ones. The lack of educational opportunities and the presence of financial constraints impede access to healthcare and encourage the promotion of health-related myths that reduce health literacy levels (Bose et al., 2016). As a result, the target population suffers extensively from the lack of knowledge about identifying, preventing, and addressing key health threats. The identified problem leads to the development of chronic disorders and the gradual decline in health rates and life expectancy levels (Berkley-Patton et al., 2018).

In addition, the relationships between a patient and a health provider need to remain positive and regular, which is not the case in the African American community in most situations (Bose et al., 2016). Recent studies show that the patient-nurse dialogue lacks consistency, empathy, and educational elements that could contribute to a rise in patient awareness (Peek et al., 2016). The specified obstacle is aggravated by the presence of discrimination toward African American patients (Bose et al., 2016). Therefore, patient-nurse communication has to be revisited and changed to enhance dialogue productivity and promote change.

Health Status, Health Promotion, and Health Disparities

Because of the lack of care and the absence of proper health education, a large number of African Americans suffer from health issues. Apart from the health concerns mentioned above, the problems such as obesity and comorbid disorders, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as cancer and kidney failure need to be mentioned (Peek et al., 2016; Altpeter, Earp, & Schopler. 1998). The specified issues affect the African American community extensively, causing people’s health to deteriorate rapidly (Bose et al., 2016). Therefore, a program aimed at health promotion is required. To ensure its successful implementation, one will need to consider the existing health disparities.

As stressed above, discrimination in healthcare affects the health status of African Americans to a significant degree. Social factors such as the lack of educational opportunities and the inability to purchase legitimate health insurance should also be listed among the essential health disparities that pervade the African American community (Bose et al., 2016). In addition, the unavailability of information related to health management and promotion of patient education makes the vulnerable population develop disorders that are typical for older citizens at a comparatively young age, which reduces their life expectancy significantly and leads to the emergence of chronic issues such as cardiovascular diseases (Bose et al., 2016). Therefore, a health promotion campaign aimed at meeting the needs of the African American population and overcoming the current barriers, particularly, the lack of patient-nurse communication is required. The active enhancement of the principles of equity and multiculturalism should be seen as the key principles based on which the program will be developed.

Health Promotion Approach: Description

To construct an adequate framework for addressing the current health needs of the African American population, one will have to take into consideration not only health-related but also economic, social, cultural, and financial issues into account. For this purpose, the social-ecological model (SEM) will be utilized. The specified framework allows embracing the vast array of influences affecting the health status of a particular community (Doran, Resnick, Kim, Lynn, & McCormick, 2017). Adopting the SEM to the described scenario, one will realize that the current participation levels are very low among African Americans regarding shaping health policies and promoting health (Doran et al., 2017). Therefore, it is recommended to create a program that will target the African American population not only as a vulnerable group but also as active participants of the state policymaking process (Doran et al., 2017). The specified stage can be regarded as primary since it is aimed at addressing patient-related concerns. As a result, African American people are expected to acquire the proposed healthy lifestyles, behaviors, and habits more actively (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), 2016).

In addition, the tools for addressing socioeconomic constraints that prevent the provision of health services to the target demographics will become manageable. The specified process will launch the secondary stage of health promotion by encouraging communication and, thus improving the quality of care. The specified endeavors will lead to the tertiary stage, which will imply designing a set of strategies for managing patient-specific needs and increasing recovery rates.

Conclusion

The current health status of the African American population in the U.S. is rather troubling, yet a health program aimed at involving the vulnerable demographic in the process of health policymaking and the promotion of health will allow improving the outcomes to a significant extent. For this purpose, healthcare services will have to create opportunities for an open nurse-patient dialogue and active cooperation between the African American population and healthcare authorities. As a result, gradual acquisition of the necessary knowledge and the development of key skills will be possible.

References

Altpeter, M., Earp, J. A. L., & Schopler, J. H. (1998). Promoting breast cancer screening in rural, African American communities: The “science and art” of community health promotion. Health & Social Work, 23(2), 104-115.

Berkley-Patton, J., Thompson, C. B., Bradley-Ewing, A., Berman, M., Bauer, A., Catley, D.,… Aduloju-Ajijola, N. (2018). Identifying health conditions, priorities, and relevant multilevel health promotion intervention strategies in African American churches: A faith community health needs assessment. Evaluation and Program Planning, 67(C), 19-28. Web.

Bose, J., Hedden, S. L., Lipari, R. N., Park-Lee, E., Porter, J. D., & Pemberton, M. R. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). African American health. Web.

Doran, K., Resnick, B., Kim, N., Lynn, D., & McCormick, T. (2017). Applying the social-ecological model and theory of self-efficacy in the worksite heart health improvement project-PLUS. Research and Theory for Nursing Practice, 31(1), 8-27. Web.

Peek, M. E., Lopez, F. Y., Williams, H. S., Xu, L. J., McNulty, M. C., Acree, M. E., & Schneider, J. A. (2016). Development of a conceptual framework for understanding shared decision making among African-American LGBT patients and their clinicians. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 31(6), 677-687. Web.

Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). (2016). Finding solutions to health disparities at a glance 2016. Web.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 national survey on drug use and health. Web.