Tina Sacks. Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System

Monday, April 8, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Tina Sacks, April 8, 2-3:30pm in 402 Barrows Hall

Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System

Although the United States spends almost one-fifth of all its resources on healthcare, the American system continues to be dogged by persistent inequities in the treatment of ethno-racial minorities and women. Invisible Visits analyzes how middle-class Black women navigate the complexities of dealing with doctors in this environment. It challenges the idea that race and gender discrimination-particularly in healthcare settings-is a thing of the past, and questions the persistent myth that minorities who are not poor are immune to discrimination. Based on in-depth interviews and focus groups with Black middle class women in Chicago, I explore how they are treated when they go to the doctor, why they continue to face inequities in securing proper medical care, and what strategies they use to fight for the best treatment (as well as the consequential toll on their health).

Tina Sacks is assistant professor in the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley. She received her PhD in Social Work from SSA at the University of Chicago after spending nearly a decade in federal service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including as special assistant to the director of the CDC.  She was also legislative director at the Baltimore City Health Department as well as executive director of the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. Professor Sacks focuses on the how macro-structural forces, including structural discrimination and immigration, affect women’s health. Her current work investigates the persistence of racial and gender discrimination in health care settings among racial/ethnic minorities who are not poor. She published a book on this subject entitled Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford, 2019) Her next major project explores the implications of the infamous U.S. Public Health Service Tuskegee Syphilis Study on the Study’s direct descendants.