At the end of life, talk helps bridge a racial divide

The New York Times, August 8, 2012

While race should not be relevant at this moment, research tells us otherwise. Blacks are much more likely than whites to elect aggressive care and to decline do-not-resuscitate orders. DNR election of even 30 percent is rare in any black community, and hospice enrollment is likewise low. African-Americans have reasons to prefer aggressive medical management. A tradition of shared decision-making in extended black families and high rates of Christian religious affiliation appear to favor it. But more important, surely, is the lingering and pernicious effect of race-related disparity in health and healthcare.


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