Publications / Listening to Black Men in California

Listening to Black Men in California

The Listening to Black Californians study included hour-long interviews with 49 Black men, four focus groups of Black men with 26 total participants, and 1,235 male survey respondents. This study is notable for the large number and diversity of Black men across California who participated in the qualitative and quantitative phases of the research.

Nearly all Black male respondents (92%) have health insurance. Among those with insurance, 61% have private coverage, 19% have Medicare, and 16% have Medi-Cal.

The Takeaway

Black men in California are invested in their health and actively advocate for their own well-being and for the health of loved ones. Health care providers and community organizations should partner with Black men to pursue positive health outcomes through community forums and provider training.

Key Findings

Black Men Are Actively Engaged in Their Mental and Physical Health

Three in four Black men say they devote “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of effort into reducing stress (78%) and focusing on their mental health (77%). Black men with Medi-Cal are more likely to devote “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of effort into reducing stress and focusing on their mental health than Black men with private coverage or Medicare.

Nearly 9 in 10 of all Black men surveyed (88%) and 93% of Black men age 45+ had at least one health care visit in the past year.

Seven in 10 Black men overall devote “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of effort to: getting appropriate screenings or preventive care, working to reach or maintain a healthy weight, and tracking indicators of personal health or symptoms.

Black Men Are Advocates and Caregivers for Family Members

In interviews and focus groups, many Black men shared stories of advocating for themselves and their families. A man from Los Angeles described the active role he took to ensure that his wife would receive high-quality care during her pregnancy and labor, researching local hospitals and paying extra for access to a specific hospital with better outcomes for mothers and infants.

Many Black men shared their experiences serving as the primary caregiver for their children, partners, and aging parents.

“My wife after the stroke has some short-term memory issues. . . . I take on all the cooking chores now. She can’t drive right now. And so, I’m the primary care for her. . . . It’s certain things that I’m committed to happen that she would do for me. . . . Being a care provider is not easy. . . . I realized that my spouse is not the same as she was 50 years ago. And one day, I may be not who I am today — she may be taking care of me. So I’m committed to my wife and my family.”

—75-year-old interviewee, Sacramento / Far North

Black Men Want Information and Opportunities to Share Knowledge

In their roles as advocates and caregivers, Black men in this study shared that they are eager for more information, guidance, and tools to help ensure better health care experiences for themselves and their family members.

In focus groups, Black men appreciated the opportunity to share their health care experiences with each other and to learn that they were not alone in these experiences. Many participants lamented the lack of similar opportunities to gather with other Black men and share knowledge about pursuing good health and positive care outcomes.

Key Areas for Action

Health care providers, systems, and community organizations have an opportunity to partner with Black men to improve their health care experiences and those of their loved ones.

Specific actions include:

  • Offer and promote community-based forums for Black men to discuss health care issues and to share information with each other.
  • Engage health care providers in building strong, trusting relationships with Black men.
  • Expand access to Black health advocates and medical chaperones.
  • Involve Black men in initial and ongoing training for health care providers and frontline staff.

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