Interpersonal communication strategies for reducing negative interactions in a healthcare environment for Black patients

Student Classification

Sydney Yorke, 3rd-Year, Communication Studies Armoni Colvin, 2nd-Year, Speech Pathology


Dr. DaKysha Moore, Speech Program

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


African Americans in the United States encounter numerous challenges related to healthcare. Compared to Whites, Blacks have a life expectancy that is nearly six years shorter (KFF, 2023), which could be influenced by stereotypes, ethnocentrism, and implicit biases prevalent in the healthcare system. Financial constraints and limited access to clinical preventive measures further exacerbate health disparities for Black Americans. This study aims to explore the potential of effective interpersonal communication in healthcare settings to mitigate ethnocentrism, stereotypes, and communication barriers. Strategies such as promoting patient-centered care by clinicians through awareness of their cultural biases and mindful word choice and nonverbal communication could contribute to improved health outcomes for Black patients. The research investigates how interpersonal communication impacts African Americans' access to healthcare. The disparities in healthcare provision for minorities, particularly African Americans, due to implicit biases, stereotypes, ethnocentrism, social stratification, financial constraints, and limited preventative measures are of national concern. Consequently, densely populated minority areas experience disproportionately higher mortality rates, and healthcare costs for socially disadvantaged minorities are elevated compared to other segments of society. Studies reveal that 49% of health professionals believe that limited access to cutting-edge healthcare services is one of the primary reasons for worse health outcomes among Black individuals (Funk, 2022). These findings highlight the systemic neglect of African Americans by healthcare providers, despite their equal entitlement to high-quality care as other racial groups.

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