Dr. Katie Savin


SOCW 223: Practice-Informed Research in Health Sciences

Document Type


Publication Date



African Americans are proportionately affected by Diabetes Mellitus. They are more susceptible to having complications and worse health outcomes after a diabetes diagnosis than any other race. African Americans also encounter the most racism, discrimination, biases, and stereotypes in the healthcare field. Due to the lack of Black healthcare professionals many African Americans do not get the healthcare treatment they are seeking with non-Black providers. Many African Americans do not trust their providers who are not Black therefore do not get the care they need to maintain their diabetes, which leads to poorer health outcomes. This study identifies the barriers African Americans with diabetes must endure that impacts their access to healthcare. This study will also explore stereotypes, discrimination, and biases many African American with diabetes receive from their healthcare providers. Due to the lack of research on the experiences of African Americans with diabetes and their interactions with the healthcare field, researchers have conducted a two-hour focus group to navigate the effects diabetes mellitus has on the Black community in Stockton. African Americans in Stockton, California has the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and those living in underserved areas are at risk the most due to the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). African Americans with diabetes are often subjected to discrimination due to biases and stereotypes that impacts the care they are receiving from their healthcare providers. The patient and provider relationship may be poor due to the lack of cultural sensitivity, empathy, and trust.


6 Black participants (3 Black males/3 Black women) with diabetes mellitus who are being treated in Stockton, CA. Between the ages of 18-65 attended a 2-hour focus group held by 2 Black researchers attending the University of the Pacific MSW program. Questions in the survey were centered on the treatment and care of their feelings towards their diabetes treatment. Researchers used demographic survey and focus guide that consisted of open-ended questions about their feelings towards diabetes, perceived discrimination, biases, and stereotypes in the healthcare field. Questions in the survey asked, “What type of barriers has the biggest impact on your diabetes”? Select all that apply 1) Transportation 2) Work 3) Child Care 4) Food choices 5) Communication 6) Diet 7) Exercise 8) Insurance 9) Time.

Findings & Conclusions

Concluded, there is a significant need for more Black healthcare professionals in Stockton who are skilled professionals about the disease to increase educational values, decrease biases and stereotypes and lower the diabetes epidemic in San Joaquin County. Participants highlighted lack of culturally competent providers, perceived discrimination, being bias, lack of access to proper nutrition education, lack of access to care, struggles in managing their diabetes as barriers. Participants in the focus group concluded that there are no Black doctors treating the Black population with diabetes in Stockton and they do not get the proper access to care such as seeing a nutritionist to explore other options besides medication, to treat their diabetes. All focus group participants reported they did not have access to an African American provider who specializes in diabetes care. Participants felt that their White, African, Indian, or Hispanic doctor could not relate to them and did not understand the Black culture which has an impact on their diabetes regimen. Participants felt that the providers only see them for a short amount of time and do not incorporate a dietician into their health plan. Therefore, their needs are not being met because providers do not fully explain the treatment plan, diet, medication regimen, or give them enough education about diabetes.