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g u e s t e d i t o r i a l Health/Health Care Disparities: Are Predominantly African American Institutions Making a Difference? Tunde M. Akinmoladun, PhD, DAAS, FRSPH Office of Minority Health in 2007 revealed that, when Keywords: health disparities n environment n African compared to non-Hispanic whites, African Americans Americans n historically black colleges and universities were 1.4 times more likely to have new cases of lung can- J Natl Med Assoc. 2009;101:967-969 cer, twice more likely to have new cases of stomach can- cer, 34% more likely to die of breast cancer, and 30% Author Affiliation: Department of Health Studies, Chicago State University, more likely to die from heart disease; about 19.5% of Chicago, Illinois. African Americans also lacked health insurance.1 Corresponding Author: Tunde M. Akinmoladun, PhD, DAAS, FRSPH, Core Professor of Environmental Public Health, Chicago State University, Depart- ment of Health Studies, DH 124, Chicago, IL 60628 (email@example.com, A LENS INTO HISTORICALLY BLACK firstname.lastname@example.org). COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES The Diverse: Issues in Higher Education publication of top degree producers revealed that between 2006 and INTRODUCTION 2007 that 27 of the 124 historically black colleges and A ccording to the Office of Minority Health in universities (HBCUs) were responsible for 1250 of 2592 2007, the African American population was 41 (48%) degrees conferred on African Americans in the million, representing about 13.5% of the US biological and biomedical sciences.4 According to the population, and most reside in 10 states in the south- same publication, the HBCUs were responsible for 1065 ern region.1 The southern region is also the location of of the 4087 (26%) of the degrees conferred on African about 93% of the 124 predominantly black colleges and Americans in the health professions and clinical sci- universities, and home to many of the landfills, brown- ences between 2005 and 2006.5 Diverse also revealed fields, chemical plants, and hazardous waste manage- that 74 out of the total 174 (43%) African American den- ment facilities.2 With 54% of African Americans living tistry degrees were conferred by HBCUs such as How- in the southern United States, where most waste facilities ard University (39%) and Meharry Medical College and chemical plants are located,1,2 there is bound to be a (35%) between 2005 and 2006.6 The same publication relationship between living in such a close proximity to also revea
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