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Trust in American Medicine: A Call to Action for Health Care Professionals

Abstract: Medical mistrust has a well-documented harmful impact on a range of patients’ health behaviors and outcomes. It can have such egregious downstream effects on so many aspects of medicine—from clinical trial participation to health care use, timely screening, organ donation, and treatment adherence—that it is sometimes described as one of the social determinants of health. In the article “Trust, Risk, and Race in American Medicine,” Laura Specker Sullivan makes the compelling case that trust is essential to building a therapeutic alliance in which effective, high-quality health care can be delivered and received. As a complement to her suggestion that health care providers take an active role in mitigating mistrust by demonstrating “not only their capacity to be honest and forthright but also their ability to respond to the potential truster’s needs,” we recommend that key health care professionals commit to five actions.

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The Hastings Center has never shied away from the toughest ethical challenges faced by society.

LET US SHARE OUR EXPERIENCES WITH YOU!

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