How Much US Life is Lost to Police Violence? Interview with:
“police” by istolethetv is licensed under CC BY 2.0Anthony L. Bui, MPH

M.D. Candidate, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Matthew M. Coates, MPH
Associate, Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine
Ellicott C. Matthay, MPH
Ph.D. Candidate, Division of Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Protests after recent deaths from encounters with law enforcement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and activism over social media platforms have raised the profile of the problem of police violence. Several studies have suggested that the public health community has a duty to address these deaths as a public health problem. These studies have also pointed out that although there is a lack of officially reported statistics on police violence, other journalistic and crowd-sourced efforts such as “The Counted” from The Guardian,, U.S. Police Shootings Database,, and Mapping Police Violence have relatively complete documentation of deaths from police violence.

To help frame the issue as a public health problem, we calculated years of life lost (YLLs) attributed to deaths from encounters with law enforcement. YLLs are, a metric that measures premature deaths, by age, gender, and race/ethnicity. To do this, we followed established methods, subtracting the age of each death from a corresponding standard life expectancy. For example, if an individual who died at age 25 had a life expectancy of 75, their YLL would be 50.  Continue reading

Do Blacks Still Get More Opioid Prescriptions? Interview with:

Matthew A. Davis, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership University of Michigan

Dr. Davis

Matthew A. Davis, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership
University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The premise for the study was based on prior work that demonstrated that the likelihood of being prescribed an opioid differs according to a patient’s race and ethnicity.  Collectively this work has shown that Non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to receive opioids than other groups for pain.

We decided to look at trends in the prescribing of different pain medications over the last 16 years to see if we could detect any differences in prescribing patterns among racial and ethnic groups.  To do so we used national health data for a large sample of Americans who live with significant pain.

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Racial Disparities in Post-Procedure ED Visits and Hospitalizations Interview with:


Hillary J. Mull, PhD, MPP
Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research
Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System
Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Little is known about outpatient procedures that can be considered invasive but are not conducted in a surgical operating room. These procedures are largely neglected by quality or patient safety surveillance programs, yet they are increasingly performed as technology improves and the U.S. population gets older.

We assessed the rate of invasive procedures across five specialties, urology, podiatry, cardiology, interventional radiology and gastroenterology in the Veterans Health Administration between fiscal years 2012 and 2015. Our analysis included examining the rates of post procedure emergency department visits and hospitalizations within 14 days and the key patient, procedure or facility characteristics associated with these outcomes. We found varying rates of post procedure ED visits and hospitalizations across the specialties with podiatry accounting for a high volume of invasive outpatient care but the lowest rate of postoperative utilization (1.8%); in contrast, few of the procedures were in interventional radiology, but the postoperative utilization rate was the highest at 4.7%. In a series of logistic regression models predicting post procedure healthcare utilization for each specialty, we observed significantly higher odds of post procedural outcomes for African American patients compared to white patients.

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Dark Skin Tones May Be Underrepresented in Medical Textbooks Interview with:

Patricia Louie, MA PhD Student, Department of Sociology University of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada

Patricia Louie

Patricia Louie, MA
PhD Student, Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada What is the background for this study?


Response: While most physicians believe that they treat patients equally, research shows that racial inequality pervades the U.S. health care system (Feagin and Bennefield 2014; Williams 2012). Because these inequities persist even after demographic and other socio-economic differences are taken into consideration scholars have started to look at the representation of race in the medical curriculum. The idea is that medical curriculum creates both implicit and explicit connections between race and disease. We build on this body of work by investigating the representation of race (White, Black and Person of Color) and skin tone (light, medium and dark) in the images of four preclinical anatomy textbooks – Atlas of Human AnatomyBates’ Guide to Physical Examination & History Taking, Clinically Oriented Anatomy, and Gray’s Anatomy for Students.  Skin tone is important.

The majority of medical imagery consists of decontextualized images of body parts where skin tone, which may be related to disease presentation, is the only phenotypical marker. If doctors associate light skin tones with White patients, this may also influence how doctors think about who is a “typical” patient, particularly for the type of disease that is shown in that image.

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Increased Diabetes Risk in African Americans Explained by Greater Obesity Rates Interview with:

Michael P. Bancks, PhD Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 

Dr. Bancks

Michael P. Bancks, PhD
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that the disparity in diabetes between black and white youth and young adults is growing, but the reasons why are unclear. We also know that traditional risk factors for diabetes, such as obesity and low socioeconomic status, are more common among blacks as compared with whites.

Our study describes how the unequal rates of these traditional diabetes risk factors explain or account for the higher rates of diabetes among blacks.

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Breast Cancer Survival Remains Lower For Black Women Interview with:
“Family Weekend 2014-Breast Cancer Walk” by Nazareth College is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Jacqueline Miller, MD
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC What efforts have proven successful in reducing racial disparities like these?

Response: While some racial disparities will exist due to differences in tumor types, improving early diagnosis and providing specific treatment based on tumor characteristics in a timely fashion would result in reducing breast cancer disparities.

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Disparities in Ovarian Cancer Survival in the United States Interview with:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC image

Site of Ovarian Cancer CDC image

Dr. Sherri Stewart, PhD
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC What do women most need to know about ovarian cancer detection and treatment?

Response: There is no effective test to detect ovarian cancer at an early stage where treatment is most likely to be effective.  Many women mistakenly believe that the Pap test can detect ovarian cancer, but it does not. The Pap test is recommended only for the detection of cervical cancer.

 Recognizing early symptoms of ovarian cancer and seeking timely care may help lead to detection of the cancer at an earlier stage, where treatment is likely to be more effective.  Symptoms – such  as abdominal and back pain, feeling full quickly after eating, and frequent urination – are often present among women with ovarian cancer.  Women should talk with their doctors if they experience any of these symptoms for 2 weeks or longer and the symptoms persist or worsen.

If a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she should seek treatment from a gynecologic oncologist, a physician specially trained to treat ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer patients who have been treated by gynecologic oncologists have been shown to survive longer than those treated by other physicians.           Continue reading

Black Men and Women Continue To Have Lower Colon Cancer Survival Rates Interview with:

“Large Colon Cancer Arising in Adenoma” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Large Colon Cancer Arising in Adenoma” by Ed Uthman

Dr. Arica White PhD MPH
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC What is the likelihood of reaching the 80% CRC screening rate goal by next year?

Response: As of 2016, 67% of adults age 50-75 years reported being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. The 80% by 2018 initiative represented an aspirational goal that public health, non-profit, and community-based organizations will continue to strive for regardless of the outcome in 2018.

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Cocaine Overdoses Rising Especially Among African Americans Interview with:
“Cocaine” by Nightlife Of Revelry is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Dave Thomas PhD

Health Scientist Administrator
National Institute on Drug Abuse What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: At the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we support research on all forms of drug use, and are aware that cocaine misuse is on the rise.  We are aware that various forms of drug use can have greater prevalence by race, sex, age and other population characteristics.

The main finding of this paper is that cocaine overdose rates are on the rise and that that the group hit hardest is the non-Hispanic black population.

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Insurance Coverage, Tumor Types Linked to Black-White Survival Disparity Among Younger Colorectal Cancer Patients Interview with:

Helmneh M. Sineshaw, MD, MPH American Cancer Society Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Sineshaw

Helmneh M. Sineshaw, MD, MPH
American Cancer Society
Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study?

Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United Sates. Although overall CRC incidence and mortality rates are decreasing in the United States, rates are increasing in the younger population. Notwithstanding these patterns, CRC incidence and mortality rates continue to be higher in blacks than in whites. Although black-white survival disparity among patients with colorectal cancer is well documented in the literature and multiple factors have been proposed as potential contributors, the contributions of differences in demographic characteristics, insurance type, comorbidity, tumor presentation, and treatment receipt to the racial disparity in survival among nonelderly CRC patients are unknown.

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