Illustrator: John Overmyer
Benign neglect, or ignoring an often undesirable situation rather than dealing with it, is an attitude with which minorities are quite familiar. Couple it with politics and racism, and you face a system that has been unresponsive to the educational, research, and health care needs of minorities and the poor in the United States.

Few mainstream research institutions or government agencies have addressed minority health in a proactive manner. Most take a reactive approach-because someone pressures them, or in response to recent laws requiring involvement of women and minorities in clinical trials, or because they are trying to secure additional money targeted for minority health issues. A few institutions, such as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, have had a true interest in addressing health issues in minority populations.

This is not say that other effective research efforts dealing with minority populations are not taking place....

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