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Open Access Publications from the University of California

What Does Compassion Mean to the Black Community of San Diego?

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Due to many historical injustices, communities of color have often felt misused by medicine at large. There is a cycle of distrust and general unpleasantness with healthcare providers. Unfortunately, the injustices haven’t stopped, as many people of color feel that those in the medical profession lack one of the basic qualities that are needed in healthcare: compassion. In many research studies about compassion, healthcare professionals and other experts define compassion. However, the people we should be asking are not the providers themselves, but the patients, as they are the ones that will know if they receive compassionate care. Focusing research like this on communities of color, especially since there is already distrust, is important. Although research on compassion has increased, there is little data on how under-resourced, culturally, and ethnically diverse communities define compassion, which can help mitigate the health disparities plaguing these communities. This study will help delineate how compassionate the healthcare industry is, and if it is not, what work can be done to make it more compassionate. A purposely made survey was created with a focus group of Black community leaders, non-profit founders, and physicians from San Diego. This survey is composed of questions that target experiences and attitudes towards physicians and healthcare providers for people from the Black community to expand on. Therefore, the Black community, across all socioeconomic groups, can be directly asked what compassion personally means to them, allowing us to finally understand ‘What Does Compassion Mean to the Black Community of San Diego?’

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