Patients receiving dialysis in predominantly black neighborhoods have higher rates of hospitalization, and Black and Hispanic women have higher rates of hypertension after preeclampsia, according to a pair of studies.
The studies are the latest in a growing body of evidence to suggest that substantial disparities in kidney care exist among patients who are Black and Hispanic, and they highlight the need for improved care to reduce preventable complications.
While the studies identify disparities, they fail to explicitly address the role that both structural racism and implicit biases in care may play in causing them, said Vanessa Grubbs, MD, associate professor in the Division of Nephrology at the University of California–San Francisco and author of “Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers: A Kidney Doctor’s Search for the Perfect Match.”
“We keep trying to find the reason within the group rather than looking at the common denominator of who takes care of these groups,” Grubbs said. “There’s a consistent push, it seems, to call race a risk factor rather than racism. Until we are willing to really acknowledge that there is no biologic meaning to race and rather how we attribute meaning to it, that affects our clinical judgment and therefore patient outcomes and we’re always going to see these disparities.”