Almost half of the healthcare workforce in the United States has witnessed discrimination against patients from racial and ethnic minorities, according to a study


Nearly half of healthcare workers in the United States have witnessed discrimination in the treatment of patients from racial and ethnic minorities, according to a study published by The Commonwealth Fund.

"Discrimination is unacceptable, and we know we need to do something about it," said Joseph Betancourt, president of the private foundation, established in 1918, working in various health-related areas. "We know that healthcare workers experience that discrimination, and it leads to poor outcomes for patients," Betancourt added. "Progress is possible and necessary, and when we address that discrimination, healthcare will improve for everyone."

Henry Fernández, CEO of the African American Research Collaborative research group, noted that African American and Latino healthcare workers report more instances of discrimination against patients than their white colleagues, and this perception also varies with age. "Younger healthcare workers tend to perceive clustering more than their older counterparts," explained Fernández.

The study is based on internet and phone interviews conducted between March and April 2023 with 3,000 healthcare workers in various patient care settings. The main conclusion is that "discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or language is a serious problem." This issue "affects care provision and workforce morale," noted Fernández.

Thirty-three percent of respondents believe racism against patients is a serious problem, with an additional 19% indicating it is a crisis, according to the report. Twenty-five percent of respondents believe racism is a minor problem, and 18% believe it is not a problem.

Forty-seven percent of all respondents reported witnessing discrimination against patients, with 32% of African American workers and 58% of Latino workers providing such testimony, according to the report.

Regarding patients, Fernández explained that 70% of discrimination reports primarily concerned African American patients, 61% concerned Latino patients, and 43% concerned white patients.

The research found that patients primarily speaking Spanish, Chinese, or other languages besides English do not always receive equal quality treatment from healthcare staff compared to English-speaking patients.