Health Science Analysis

Health Sciences are Full of  Political Biases that Need to be Scrutinized 

Science should be separate from politics, and vice-versa. Yet, that doesn’t usually happen because politics pervades everything, including business and health sciences. Studies have shown substantial bias related to gender and race in the medical and mental health fields. Examples abound where mental health experts have misused their expertise to advance their ideology.

The idea that a group of mental health experts were calling on Congress to support bill H.R. 1987 establishing an Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity to determine the president’s mental fitness was highly suspicious. Why? Because Dr. John Gartner, psychologist and founder of “Duty to Warn” and co-editor of Rocket Man: Nuclear Madness and the Mind of Donald Trump, always discussed the mental health conditions he believed Donald Trump had when he won the United States presidency in 2016, which would justify his removal from the Presidency under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Dr. John Zinner, clinical professor of psychiatry, George Washington University, speaking of President Trump said: “I am concerned about many things; about his mental instability, but especially in the immediate present, I am more worried about his unfettered authority to launch nuclear weapons.” So, they were all concerned about President Trump starting a new war or launching nuclear bomb because he was mentally “unstable.” Now, with President Biden in office and showing all the signs they worried about in Trump, those mental health experts have nothing to say. Besides, Trump didn’t start any new war. The same cannot be said of Obama or Biden. Still, no words from the mental health experts.

In the late 19th century, enslaved black people were unceremoniously released from the bonds of perpetual, torturous racialized servitude. In 1865, those in the U.S. were declared free people after almost four hundred years of chattel slavery. This declaration was not accompanied by debrief or decompression sessions for the now formerly enslaved. Nor was there a national moment of silence, or even an enactment of circles of reconciliation in honor of the lives lost and maimed. Mental health experts knew that it was their sworn duty to make sure that the newly liberated slaves needed to be fully evaluated. They not only ignored the urgency of the situation, but used their position to take advantage of the situation. And today, the affected community is still living with the consequences.

On April 19, 2016, PNAS published a study entitled: “Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between Blacks and Whites.” The study found that at a medical school, some doctors believed there are biological differences between Blacks and Whites: 25% of residents believed black skin is thicker than white skin; 14% of second year medical students agreed that black people’s nerve endings are less sensitive than whites’; 17% agreed that black people’s blood coagulates more quickly than whites’. Those statistics are not surprising when we consider that an authoritative textbook in the field contained misconceptions. In Nursing: A concept-based approach to learning, Volume one, second edition, statements like “Hispanics may believe that pain is a form of punishment, and that suffering must be endured if they are to enter heaven,” and “African Americans believe pain and suffering are inevitable,” and “Native Americans may pick a sacred number when asked to rate pain on a numerical scale” were found. With such misconceptions, it is easy to see why their pain is treated differently. It was only in 2017 that the textbook was pulled after a general outcry.

Based on the biases described above, we propose a five-factor analysis that is more inclusive and fairer, offering a cross-racial and cross-cultural assessment of worldviews, values, and belief systems. One way of understanding how it works is to consider the conclusions that a Western psychiatrist working in Africa arrived at: Africans understand disease causation in the context of traditional spiritual beliefs, generally based on three fundamental ideas: “First, things that exist or happen have a cause. Second, serious occurrences…are intentionally caused. Third, the cause of any occurrence can be discovered by methods of reason, memory, and divination” (Linde, 2002, p. 9). This is a humanist approach that looks at health sciences beyond biased and corrupt faculties.

Conclusion

Politics and biases are pervasive and found in every aspect of life, whether it’s business, health, or everyday life. So, when doing business with Africans or black people in general, considerations and evaluations of the aforementioned biases should be a priority.

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