- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
In the United States, Black adults are more than twice as likely to die of cardiovascular disease than white adults. Growing evidence points to structural racism as a "fundamental driver" of this stark disparity, according to a 2020 presidential advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA).
Structural racism refers to the systems in a society that create and maintain racial inequality. But the damaging health effects of the underlying problem — racial discrimination — have been studied for decades. More than 25 years ago, sociologist David R. Williams, professor of public health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, developed the Everyday Discrimination Scale. It's designed to quantify the hassles and indignities people experience in daily life and whether they feel this unfair treatment is due to their race, gender, age, or other characteristics. A recent update reviewed some of the cardiovascular effects related to race (see "Racial discrimination and heart health: The evidence").
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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