Home Institution

Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy


Trust is a critical aspect of the patient-provider dynamic, but in the U.S., its importance is overlooked in many medical settings, especially among those from low socio-economic groups. As the disparities in American healthcare are being recognized on a larger scale, it is necessary to further uncover why this is the case, and how to begin to remedy this disparity. This study presents an original qualitative data set of perspectives from four current health/mental health practitioners, based on their experiences with their pediatric patients, and how the concept of trust is critical to their service provision. Supported by literature, this research illuminates the influence of corporate medicine on the deterioration of medical trust in the U.S. This can be seen in the case of vaccine hesitancy, especially in the age of access to un-vetted information through the Internet. Further, from firsthand accounts, patterns emerge that suggest an increased feeling of betrayal by the medical industry among those from minority groups in the U.S. – often those who have lower incomes and less familiarity with primary care. These results lead to the conclusion that it is imperative to devote extra attention to these communities, including special care to adapting healthcare to their unique culture and needs. By doing this, providers can begin to build honest, reciprocal, ongoing relationships with their patients and their caregivers. While this alone does not solve the fracture between the medical community and the American citizens, it may be a step in the right direction towards repairing the damage.


American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Health Communication | Health Policy | Inequality and Stratification | Maternal and Child Health | Medicine and Health | Pediatrics | Public Affairs | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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