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In 1985, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Services (HHS) issued a landmark report that exposed the persistence of racial disparities in the U.S. healthcare system. Unfortunately, twenty-five years later, racial disparities in healthcare continue to persist. For example, since 1985, more African-Americans have died from coronary disease, breast cancer, and diabetes than Caucasians, even though more Caucasians suffer from these diseases than African-Americans. Notwithstanding their increased mortality rates, African Americans “have a statistically significantly lower mean number of annual ambulatory [walk-in] visits and are less likely to have seen a physician in [any given] year.” Studies also show that “relative to Caucasians, African Americans are less likely to receive analgesics for pain, cardiac medications, surgery for glaucoma, and referral for cardiac catheterizations.”

In this short essay, I briefly contrast recent history of federal government programs aimed at eliminating racial disparities in healthcare and issue an urgent challenge scholars, researchers, and federal officials to adopt a new approach to eradicate racial disparities.