Culture of health does not only incorporate creating improving health for individuals and
communities but addressing the aspects of how discrimination can come into play affecting
a positive health outcome. An example of public health discrimination is a study we have
all heard of before, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The United States Public Health Service, a
major government figure, had not disclosed available treatment to African American men
in the study. When penicillin was readily available and proven to be a cure effective at
addressing syphilis, this was only offered to “middle-class white [males]” (Lewis, 2020).
As this study still stands as a major landmark in change of human experimentation and
great reminder of personal ethics, I cannot agree with how the situation was originally
handled by public health leaders. The study started in 1932, the cure with penicillin was
found in 1945, and was not until 1965 a medical provider began questioning protocols
(Lewis, 2020). It took a whole twenty years for a medical provider whom we may also
consider a public health advocate to bring to mention the racism seen and neglect of others
in care. If I had been a medical provider I would have wondered why not everyone was
being delivered the same care and brought to improved health. How can a medical
provider sleep with a sound conscience blatantly knowing that one race is receiving better
care while the others not receiving care are dying? As Lewis (2020) brings to light, it was
not until 1997 that took the United States Government apologized to the African American
My leadership style is the democratic approach alongside being a pragmatist. Rowitz
(2014) stresses that pragmatists are focused on the tasks while getting the job “done with
clear results” (p.593). If the job was to identify the prevalence of syphilis in the community
and having penicillin be a viable cure, why was bettering the health of the community not
done right away for all? The need for identifying care, providing competent care and
improving the livelihood of ALL PEOPLE is what I would fight for. Making it be clear and
known that even with the government apologizing almost fifty-two years later is not
enough. This is where the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (n.d.) speaks of creating a
“culture of health” that focuses on “improving health, equity and well-being” can be
greatly stressed upon.
Lewis, T. T. (2020). Newspaper breaks story of abuses in Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Salem
Rowitz, L. (2014). Public health leadership: Putting principles into practice (3rd ed.).
Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Response to posts
The culture of health is a critical facet in fostering the positive health of communities
across different socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds. While realizing the disparities in
the provision of health services across different regions, it is imperative to curb the evident
aspects of public health discrimination that have negatively impacted on the population health.
The delays in the provision of penicillin as a cure for penicillin exhibited a heightened
discrimination against African Americans. Despite the apology from the US government to the
African American community, the evident failure highlights the case of a failed leadership
approach and regime in promoting a universal culture of health among different populations.
Indeed, I agree with the public health discrimination perspective and the initiation of the
democratic leadership style alongside the rational approach in the medical sector to improve the
emphasis on promoting a a positive culture of health. Besides, the leadership style would
endeavour to focus on addressing the health disparities and equitable health service provision.
According to Taylor (2020), it is apparent that most states have failed to provide
affordable medication to the African Americans through the Medicaid programs. While
considering the increasing role of the government towards improving the general health of
individuals, the failure in providing the universal coverage for the vulnerable African American
populations as compared to their white counterparts have heightened the health discrimination.
The disproportionate African American representation in the health sector with the stringent
requirements for the coverage through the Medicaid health insurance programs has been noted as
a public health concern across the US. Indeed, the authorities have failed to effectively exercise
caution while handling US citizens from the African American citizens with the implementation
of draconian requirements failing to impact on the universal health coverage across the US. As a
leader, it would be critical to pursue transformational leadership focusing on reducing the public
health disparities in the medical coverage for African American approach while taking up a
bottom-up approach in promoting the health coverage uniformity.
Taylor, J. (2020). Racism, inequality, and health care for African Americans.