Lecture – Impact of Racial Discrimination and Trauma on Racial Health Disparities in African American Populations

Available with English captions.

Presented by Sierra E. Carter, PhD, Georgia State University – Visiting Scholar Series

Research has demonstrated that racial discrimination is a significant factor in health disparities.

In this talk, Carter cites findings that at least 90% of Black adults and youth report experiencing at least one incident of racial discrimination in the past year. She also presents research indicating that African Americans live sicker and die younger than other racial and ethnic groups.

The lecture provides an overview of how racial discrimination impacts the health and well-being of African Americans. Carter describes how African Americans disproportionately experience racial health disparities influenced by race-related stress. She also explores the importance of examining racial discrimination in the conceptualization of trauma experiences and treatments.

Watch more to learn about:

  • Racism-related experiences and historical unjust legacies that can worsen current health disparities for African Americans
  • The unique challenges and clinical issues present in experiences of race-based stress and trauma among African Americans
  • Potential avenues for promoting health equity and addressing the influence of racial discrimination on health

Carter explores research into the mental health impact of racial discrimination and related trauma on the Black community. For example, she describes studies on racism-related trauma’s link with maternal health and morbidity among Black women. She discusses her research into the effect of early discrimination on accelerated aging among African Americans. Carter also touches on the importance of resiliency in the face of trauma and racism.

To address racism-related health issues, Carter calls on the health care community to embrace several approaches. First, she asks health care professionals to acknowledge the connection between trauma and racism. Also, she calls on them to understand the impact of trauma and racism on mental health, and in doing so, embrace more racially equitable clinical solutions.

“Given our current sociopolitical climate and U.S. legacy, it is important to think about novel ways to engage communities around therapeutic interventions, including for PTSD and racism-related stress,” Carter says.