Publication in: Spring 2023 Issue

The Historical Creation and Systematic Perpetuation of Cardiovascular Disease Health Disparities in African Americans A Case Study: Asheville, NC
Chasity Leake
Interdisciplinary Studies
Faculty Mentor(s):
Marcia Ghindia
Abstract / Summary:
Nationally a disproportionate number of African Americans suffer from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), compared to their Caucasian counterparts, even though national rates are trending downward. If technology advances, why are rates not dropping uniformly across all races? The lack of uniformity in the rate drop is a health disparity. Health disparities are the preventable but intentional shortening of the life expectancy of people of color. In contrast, caucasian people enjoy privileged access to optimal health. Health disparities are rooted first in the conceptualization of race and establishing value associated with whiteness. These ideas perpetuated the creation of the social hierarchy and the organization of society that devalued everything that was not white. Our institutions today still perpetuate these inequalities on an institutional level. The question investigated in this report is whether a CVD health disparity exists at the county level here in Asheville, NC, compared to the national health disparity. This study will utilize Policy Map’s mapping software to examine racial segregation and patterns of association using life expectancy rates, CVD rates, high blood pressure rates, and educational attainment. After examining and comparing all mapping data, a county-level health disparity in CVD was identified between African Americans and Caucasians. Furthermore, mapping evidence shows an association between predominantly African American areas experiencing higher disease rates and lower life expectancy rates. Comparatively, white areas experience lower disease and higher life expectancy rates. Furthermore, this strong association alludes to an intentionally designed, racially motivated, and geographically segregated county that accounts for the cumulative disadvantage experienced by African Americans in Asheville, NC.
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