This intervention is for African Americans, a population that the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2006) identifies as an ethnic group that experiences grave disparities in U.S. healthcare systems. African Americans constitute only 12.3 % of the U.S. population, but have the highest death rate of all ethnic groups in this country, according to the National Research Council (2004).
The research also shows that African Americans end-of-life choices are primarily influenced by four factors:
1) Shared cultural beliefs in the role of family and others
2) A general mistrust toward healthcare systems
3) The importance of spirituality and religion &
4) Having knowledge of and access to healthcare related services.
(Wicher & Meeker, 2012, p.28).
The beneficiaries of Heart Tones’ initiatives, workshops and resources are not only for African Americans, but also members of the larger U.S. society, including healthcare, social services, and faith-based organizations that seek innovative approaches to engage in public education efforts that result in end-of-life care conversations before a crisis occurs.