Striving PA Discussing Race and Health

Hi, my name is Jessica Sattmann, I have recently graduated from Michigan State with an interdisciplinary studies degree with a concentration in health. I am hoping to finish strong with these summer classes and apply to PA school. I am very interested in anything health and illness related and this class was great for me because it looks at health from a different perspective than I’m used to looking at it being a nurse assistant in the hospital, as anthropologists look more through the eyes of culture and try to reduce ethnocentrism, which is very common in the hospital setting.

If I were to describe to a friend what race really is I would tell them that biologically it is a very in depth mixing and matching of alleles, chromosomes, and much more that make up our DNA, which in turn, our genome presents our skin tone, or race. So biologically race is not one simple factor to be separated by or categorized by because it goes much deeper than one factor. Socially, race is a factor to be categorized by skin tone and culture. It goes back before we were born and when we are born we are born “wearing glasses to see a certain way without even noticing it” as the PowerPoint explained. This means that socially we are brought up with a certain culture and we are taught the rights and wrongs/ what to believe from such a young age that we are ignorant to other cultures most of the time. This also influences health because skin color, culture, ethnicity, all correlates to status, which causes health disparities. If you are born into a lower income family or bad neighborhood  it is harder to escape it and overcome it because there are so many factors pressing against you, much less opportunity.

As found in the Nursing Times Article, The Impact of Ethnicity on Health Inequalities, Mathews talks about how people from minority ethnic groups have poorer health than the rest of the population. This is because many people from minority ethnic groups experience social deprivation, poverty and unemployment on a scale that is greater than the majority population. Socioeconomic status greatly affects health as well as cultural norms and values. Assuming that an ethnic group or race makes disadvantages for themselves and their health by practicing their cultural norms which causes more susceptibility to diseases and long term illness.


  1. David Mathews. “The Impact of Ethnicity on Health Inequalities,” Nursing Times (2015): 18-20.

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