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Editorials |

A New ParadigmRacism and Disease Prevention: Approaching Racism as a Method of Disease Prevention

Samuel Cykert, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine; and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program.

Correspondence to: Samuel Cykert, MD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, 145 N Medical Dr, CB No. 7165, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7165; e-mail: samuel_cykert@med.unc.edu


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;145(3):442-443. doi:10.1378/chest.13-1888
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Over the past decade, literature has emerged that shows plausible but loosely defined associations between blacks’ perceptions of racism and the risk of developing significant health problems, including hypertension, coronary artery calcification, sleep disturbances, preterm labor, and obesity.1-5 The report by Coogan et al6 in this issue of CHEST (see page 480) takes the association of the racism experience and health to a new level as the authors present a thorough analysis drawn from a large and enduring cohort, the Black Women’s Health Study. Their results strongly connect perceived racism and the development of adult-onset asthma during subsequent years. Although their findings were derived from a survey, the definition of asthma was rigorous, requiring a clear report of physician diagnosis coupled with the use of asthma medication at least three times per week for a patient to be considered as an asthma case. In addition, asthma cases identified during the 1997 base survey were excluded from the cohort.

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