Recently a colleague was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, because it’s been something I’ve been dealing with for the last 5 years, she asked for a doctor recommendation. Since we live in the same area, I didn’t hesitate to recommend my doctor to her. When I gave her his card, she looked at it and gave it back to me and asked, “Is he white? I only use black doctors”. I told her technically he’s Jewish and she probably wouldn’t find a better Rheumatologist than him in our area. Nope, she wasn’t hearing it, she needed a black doctor. I didn’t press the issue any further.

I’ve had doctors of all types of backgrounds. When I’m picking a doctor, rarely does my health directory let me know their race or ethnicity, but it will display the languages they speak. When I search for the reviews of doctors, it’s never mentioned either. I guess I’ve never given thought that people actually seek out doctors of a certain race or ethnicity.

My dermatologist is African-American, but when I walk into his office his patients are diverse. The same goes for my Asian OB-GYN. Even when choosing a new doctor for my son, I searched reviews of doctors in the area. Then matched the names up to my health insurance and picked the best reviewed one, and when I walked into the office I discovered he’s Liberian.

I guess I’m not so picky about the race of a doctor as I am about their reviews and if they come with good referrals. Is it that people may be more comfortable with a doctor from their own background? I do realize if English isn’t a person’s primary language, they may seek out a doctor that speaks their language, but that doesn’t mean much. I know tons of doctors, with English as their first language, that are fluent in other languages. I can only hope my colleague was eventually able to find a doctor to her liking, but I don’t plan on changing any of mine anytime soon.

Do you factor in race or ethnicity when picking a doctor? If so, why?

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  • Ravi

    if it’s an emergency and I need a doctor right away, I will go to the nearest doctor regardless of race. If I’m choosing a doctor for regular care, I would look for a black doctor. Of course they should be a quality, well-reviewed doctor. That’s a given though.

    I’ve had black regular physicians since I can first remember going to the doctor. Not sure if my parents sought out a black pediatrician for me, but that’s what I always had.

  • Sick

    YES, of course race matters. I feel the same way, all of my doctors are Black and they are the best in the area. Why should we bother sending our children to college, if we aren’t even going to support them when they get out of school. It is nonsensical to do otherwise. My doctors are black because I have found that black doctors tend to interact better with me. They care more and they actually listen and remember who I am. That didn’t happen with the others, so I stopped going to them years ago. I am more than happy with the doctors I have now and also my lawyer is Black!!! Why should we continue to make everyone else rich but our own?!?!?!?!?!

    Oh, and by the way, my dentist is a Harvard grad!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Living in New York and having survived a heart attack, I wanted a cardiologist who wanted to keep me alive. My cardiologist is Chinese American, my pain doctor is Russian American (his practice is on the same street as my co-op) so I can get to him with no problem. My knee surgeon surgeon is Jewish, when I developed a horrible rash on my face, due to some meds;I found (in my neighborhood) a Jewish dermatologist, who saved my skin (literally). My G.P. is Russian Jewish and his practice is also on my street, and since I have many health problems, and he’s a caring doctor, I’ve kept going to him. For most people, if you do happen to find a good doctor, who is in your neighborhood and takes your insurance, you tend to keep these doctors. If I feel a doctor does not listen to me, I’m out the door. That’s the criteria with me, you must listen to me and I want him easy to get to in an emergency. My cardiologist is not near my apt. but I will never use another cardiologist, because he cares about my health and listens when I’m upset, and just know something is wrong. He listens. Growing up our family doctor was Black. He became a doctor when med most med schools would not admit African Americans, so believe me I know what he went through to become a doctor. He passed away shortly before my parents who were his contemporary. I miss them all.

  • The only time race has been a factor was with my dermatologist…and even then it wasn’t at first. I had what i thought was a rash around my hairline so i went to the woman’s office. She was a white lady and she acted like she didn’t wanna touch me. Then told me she wasn’t used to working with black people’s hair so she didn’t know what to tell me. She wrote up a prescription (for what, i don’t even know) and sent me on my way. A couple of weeks later her receptionist had the nerve to call me talking about a follow-up appointment lol.