By Abril Corona, Zane Dash, Ellie Henry, Christine Mendoza, and Nathan Webb
In this playlist, various interviewees discuss their experiences with provider-patient relationships in North Carolina healthcare. The clips we have chosen examine the provider-patient relationship through the lenses of race, gender, education level, cultural differences, and changes to the dynamics of the relationship over time. In applying these perspectives, these clips will present novel challenges (including the repercussions of the Tuskegee experiment, gender-based discrimination, and stereotypes of immigrants) to modern provider-patient relationships and offer potential solutions (encompassing an emphasis on patient trust and comfort, providers’ explanations of care, shared cultural backgrounds, and other practices) to such issues. Claudia Garrett, the daughter of migrant workers from Mexico, elaborates on how a shared cultural background can enrich the provider-patient relationship by allowing providers to better understand the unique culture-specific challenges of those they treat. Lata Chaterjee, an immigrant from India, describes how doctors at Johns Hopkins assumed that Chaterjee had a “tropical disease” just because she was an immigrant (instead of treating her the same as patients from the United States), thus fueling her fear of the US healthcare system. Mirna Allende, a Hispanic-American Commwell Health employee who lost her mother to cancer at a young age, uses her experience with her family and her personal experience with the medical field to explain how medical paternalism arising from providers’ esoteric knowledge lessened the quality of her relationship with a provider. She then contrasts this experience with a positive experience wherein her provider thoroughly explained her care. Stephanie Atkinson, a Black nurse at ComWell Health, describes her experiences in a cultural competency training which chronicled the roots of Black patients’ mistrust in physicians. Tracing the origin of this mistrust to the Tuskegee Experiments of the mid-20th century, Atkinson identifies the difficulties of repairing Black males’ trust in physicians. In an additional clip, Atkinson discusses her experiences as a nurse and emphasizes her familiarity with watching young women be treated as lesser than men solely based upon their gender. She believes that women are conditioned from a young age to prioritize the needs of others over their own, and argues that this mentality facilitates the continued medical and social mistreatment of women, effectively impairing the quality of the provider-patient relationship for women. Finally, Ysaura Rodriguez, an immigrant from Mexico, shares how she believes doctors can best serve their patients: she explains how doctors normally rush patients and always begin appointments by immediately asking about patients’ medical issues. She emphasizes that doctors should instead gain patients’ trust, enabling patients to feel comfortable in trusting providers’ advice and diagnoses. When combined, these narratives paint a clear picture of the provider-patient relationships in North Carolina healthcare and affirm that there is still work to be done to reach adequate patient care for all.