In this timely report, produced by Firelight Films and directed by acclaimed filmmaker and MacArthur Fellow Stanley Nelson, NOVA takes a hard look at the evidence for medical racism in America.
Among the many harmful impacts of racism in America––one that’s captured great attention in the past year has been the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on Black Americans. There is a growing body of evidence for the existence, and causes, of racial health disparities. But even when controlling for factors like poverty, access to quality medical care, and environmental exposure, Black Americans still face worse health outcomes when engaging with the American health system. Recent research has exposed a set of risk factors from pervasive stereotypes, including racist assumptions about pain tolerance or drug seeking that make some doctors reluctant to prescribe pain medication to their Black patients. Additionally, further evidence demonstrates that toxic stress––the result of living with constant threats that elevate stress hormone levels — is contributing to higher rates of hypertension and other chronic diseases in the Black community. In this timely report, produced by Firelight Films and directed by acclaimed filmmaker and MacArthur Fellow Stanley Nelson, NOVA takes a hard look at the evidence for medical racism in America, connecting today’s stories to a long history that includes the Tuskegee syphilis study, the eugenics movement, and slavery in the Americas. In addition to framing the problem, the film will seek out solutions to the devastating racial health disparities that continue to impact the lives of Black Americans today.