The newly published third edition of “Health Issues in the Black Community” is a sobering read, but as co-editor Henrie Treadwell, PhD, told APHA members lining up for a signed copy Sunday afternoon, “you’ve gotta tell the truth to fix it.”
Health disparities will vex our country until we pull together to tackle the problem in more than a piecemeal way, she said. And now that the House of Representatives has passed a comprehensive health reform bill, that might actually happen.
“I’m hopeful,” Treadwell said as she signed copies of the book on Sunday afternoon. “In this era of health reform, we might be able to have a smaller book next time.”
Treadwell described the book as a “sad affirmation that we haven’t done enough” when it comes to eliminating health disparities — life expectancy for black Americans is shorter than for white Americans. The book offers chapter by chapter of examples of health issues that hit hard in the black community, from homicide and violence to chronic health conditions, substance abuse and obesity.
“I think this book is a critical read for those who are concerned about health disparities and access to care,” said former APHA President Caswell Evans, DDS, MPH, who co-authored a book chapter on oral health.
Trends outlined in the book include the fact that black boys and men are unlikely to have access to quality health care.
“Their best hope for health care is prison or none at all,” Treadwell said. A turnaround is possible, though.
“It can be done. It really can. I don’t think I would invest all the time and energy to just put words to paper, but to put the inspiration out there,” she said.
And just before the end of the one-hour book signing session, when Treadwell walked across the expo hall to hand-deliver a copy to new Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, she reminded a gaggle of admiring young public health professionals of their important charge.
“We have to work to make this book smaller in the future,” she said to nodding agreement. “We have to fix something.”
To purchase a copy of “Health Issues in the Black Community,” visit the Everything APHA booth at the Public Health Expo.
Above: Author Henrie Treadwell signs copies of her book on Sunday at the Public Health Expo. Photo courtesy Jim Ezell/EZ Event Photography