Health Talks: Equity in cardiovascular health for Black Americans

Understanding and addressing disparities in heart care is critical to improving health outcomes for many historically underserved groups in America. In a recent Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Health Talk, we discussed how removing barriers to treatment and care can ultimately help lower the rate of death due to heart disease in Black Americans.

What are the disparities in heart care that we should be aware of?

As a heart failure transplant cardiologist, I’m particularly interested in disparities in heart disease. Heart failure is one of the things we really need to be focused on because of some troubling trends that we're seeing in young Black men and women. Despite the ability to offer great care, medicines, transplants and mechanical devices, we've seen an increase in death. Heart failure rates are increasing in the Black population, and we’re trying to understand why that is occurring.

What is the science of health equity and diversity?

In a general sense, it’s population-based health that impacts our communities. It’s about understanding the inequities and why they exist and the scientific tools we can use to dissect and understand those differences.

How do you advance health equity?

One of the ways we’re advancing health equity in our research is through our focus on statin-based therapies (cholesterol-lowering drugs). We are trying to personalize care for African Americans who may not respond as well or may be at risk for having an adverse outcome from statin therapy.

More: Ohio State community partnerships aim to identify disparities and improve health outcomes for Black men and women

What’s the future for heart disease and the Black community?

I’d like to see the rates of death and hospitalizations decrease, I’d like to see education improve so we can understand the inequities and what’s driving some of these disparities. At Ohio State, we have people who are engaged in working together to solve this problem. We need to do our part as a state land-grant university to make an impact in our local communities and local Black population.

Watch the full video above for more on how Ohio State is addressing health equity, specifically related to heart and vascular care.

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Learn more about advances in care and treatment for patients at The Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center

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