Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Interpretations of Heart Disease: “The Socialization of Providers”

Interpretations of Heart Disease: “The Socialization of Providers”

Antione Martin

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among persons in the U.S. However, African Americans (AA) bear the burden of having the highest risk and deaths related to heart disease. Symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, diet, physical activity, and systemic racism are contributing factors to heart disease. Yet, few studies examine medical providers’ (MP) & public health professionals’ (PHP) perspectives about underlying causes leading to AA’s increased risk. As mediators to improved health outcomes, it is pertinent to explore MP and PHP’s understanding and outlook about the factors they perceive related to heart disease in AAs. Previous research indicates that MPs and PHPs undergo a socialization process in their educational studies that influences their perspectives on social factors contributing to disease etiology. This study seeks to understand the varying groups of MPs and PHPs – traditional medical provider, naturopathic medical providers, and public health professionals – interpretation of underlying causes contributing to heart disease in AAs. Several webinar and podcast recordings featuring MP and PHP discussions on heart disease in AAs were transcribed and reviewed. Linguistic features along with remarks and comments from MP and PHP groups were compared and contrasted. Findings highlighted common themes and linguistic features among provider’s interpretation of contributions to heart disease in AAs such as “patient’s beliefs about predisposition to heart disease, the impact of structural/systemic racism, exercising passive voice, responsibility of blame, and patient’s dietary intake.” However, there were distinctions in how each provider group addressed and approached treatment for heart disease in AAs. Implications for future research should focus on MP and PHP educational studies/training, particularly on the socialization of medical and public health students and their treatment and care approaches to AA populations.

April 12, 2021 - Posted by | abstract


  1. As a medical provider who also has a background in anthropology, I would be interested in reading this paper if available!

    Comment by Kaitlin Muklewicz | April 13, 2021 | Reply

  2. Hi Antione, this is such an important topic when it comes to health disparities, and something I’ve wondered about in the past too! I’d love to read the final paper if possible. I’m particularly curious to see what you discovered regarding the distinctions in perceptions/approaches among varying groups of MPs and PHPs.

    Comment by Raveena Mata | April 13, 2021 | Reply

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