Department ofAfrican American Studies

In the July 2020 volume of Health Literacy Research and Practice (HLRP), there is a scholarly dialogue about racial disparities in the extent to which people adhere to public health recommendations. A paper by faculty members in Penn State’s Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center showcases results from a national survey they fielded about the public’s awareness of (and intent to comply with) such recommendations. One limitation of this paper is that the survey had a predominantly White sample, which makes it difficult to generalize their recommendations to communities of color. To offer a fuller perspective, the other featured paper in this dialogue is from Ray Block and his coauthors discussing the results from a national poll of African Americans they recently conducted. The journal editors added an essay to the dialogue. In that editorial essay, they argue that these two publications underscore the need for targeted, culturally responsive public health messaging around hand washing, social distance, masking, etc. Hopefully, this will be the first of many collaborations Ray will have with medical researchers about the politicization of the science surrounding how to slow the spread of the pandemic.