Circulation the flagship journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) has published online its first themed issue devoted to disparities in cardiovascular medicine. The issue contains a collection of original research, state-of-the-art reviews, research letters, scientific perspectives and commentaries addressing racial and ethnic disparities affecting the health and well-being of Black adults of African descent in the USA.
“Our commitment to publishing this issue follows an unprecedented year when health disparities were at the forefront of our consciousness due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest. The effects of racism oftentimes underscore the lives of various populations in our society, and in this inaugural issue we will focus exclusively on the experiences of (American) people of African descent; in subsequent issues we will expand to address disparities in other populations,” noted the editors of the special issue, Circulation associate editors Mercedes R Carnethon (Northwestern University, Evanston, USA) and Karol E Watson (University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA); and guest editor Michelle A Albert (University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco, USA), a member of the Circulation editorial board, 2021‒22 president-elect of the AHA and 2020‒21 president of the Association of Black Cardiologists.
“The focus on cardiovascular health in persons of African descent is justified based on the persistent disparities in morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases that are experienced by Black adults and children in the USA. Also, as we have seen, pandemics and preventable deaths, disproportionately affect Black individuals, with disparities in COVID-19 deaths and cardiovascular diseases being classic examples.”
Among the issues the editors will address is building a more diverse healthcare workforce—one that looks more like and identifies better with the patients they are caring for in the clinical setting or studying in scientific research.