A new study shows black men are far more likely to follow their doctor's orders if their doctor is also a black male.
The study, “Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland,” was published in June by the National Bureau for Economic Research.
In it, 702 black men in Oakland were recruited for a free health screening.
Sixty three percent of them assigned to a black doctor agreed to basic health screenings while only 43 percent of the ones assigned to a white or Asian doctor went along with the doctors advice.
It brings up the question: Could a lack of black doctors in the U.S play a role in why black men have the lowest life expectancy of any ethnic group?
Four percent of the doctors in the United States are black, despite African Americans making up 13 percent of the overall population.
Dr. Avery Nolen, at Methodist Family Health Clinic in Cedar Hill, has witnessed the disparities and makes it a point to build a rapport with his patients, who are mainly black.
He also is a black male with diabetes, which he says, helps him relate with patients.
"They look at me and are like, 'wow, you have diabetes? You don't look like a person who has diabetes."
For some black men, like Kevin Levingston, any doctor's order is meant to be taken seriously, no matter the relationship with the doctor or the color of his or her skin.
"If you got somebody there that can help you, if God put you in the right place and right time like he did for me, putting Dr. Nolen there, then do it," said Levingston.