A current heath issue that affects many individuals is the plague of cancer. This awful disease takes loved ones from many families. Yet, minorities are affected by cancer more often than their white counter parts. It is estimated that the incidence rate of cancer is 10% higher in African Americans than it is for their white counterparts. Health disparities like this can be modeled along a framework called the Social Ecological Model (SEM). This framework helps to show how public policy, community, organizational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal reasons all relate in an aspect of health, whether that be a solution to a health issue or a health disparity. Using the health disparity of cancer within the African American community it can be seen that various aspects of the SEM that these factors can be used to perpetuate this disparity. On an intrapersonal level the lack of knowledge about cancer within the African American community than in the white community perpetuates this disparity. The lack of knowledge of this disease leads to less recognition of the early symptoms that could lead to effective treatment and less awareness to risk activities that could cause cancer. On an interpersonal level, African American families are less supportive during an illness than their white counterparts in order to breed the idea of making individuals tough. This inadequate support system will drive African Americans to not seek support for cancer and other cancer related high risk behaviors. Lastly, on an organizational level there is little support for individuals and little to no resources for individuals affected by cancer or high cancer risk behavior. These different ways that this awful health disparity are perpetuated exemplify areas that we as a society should strive to change and support.
These health disparities that affect minorities do not have to be a permeant. We as health care professionals can lead the charge in the elimination of health disparities. This could be done on many levels of the SEM. One way would be on the community level by giving cancer screenings through social organizations such as a church or a community organization. This intervention at the community level could increase awareness of this awful disease within the African American community and the cancer screenings could detect early signs of this disease allowing for early treatment and survival against cancer. The higher treatment and survival rate would be a good step in the right direction to improving this health disparity. As health professionals we all hope to do the best for our patients and their wellbeing; no matter their race, gender identity, sexuality, or any other factor.