Moving Forward In Addressing Health Care Inequalities In The Black Community

Health care disparities are often linked to inequality, disproportion and difference. The underlying disease process can be the cause of these differences that may be linked to health care. However, access to health care is a criterion of obtaining quality health care. A physician must have adequate resources and education to provide quality health care.

Several reports have examined patient-reported experience (AHRQ, 2008); while other reports focus on socioeconomic and geographic groups (Kaiser Permanente, 2008): the scope of these reports seem to suggest that determining the causality of these interrelationships between race and health care disparities is limited. But these relationships do exist. For example, according to the CDC (2007); AHRQ (2008) and National Healtcare Disparities Report (2005),
Minority women are more like to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer compared with Whites.
Blacks have higher rates of avoidable hospital admissions compared with Whites.
Blacks and Hispanics are less likely to receive optimal care when hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction.
Blacks are more likely to die from HIV, due to the association with a lower socioeconomic class.

The apology extended by the American Medical Association (AMA) on July 10, 2008 for acknowledging its history of racial inequality that kept its doors closed to African American physician for more than a century: was accepted by the National Medical Association (NMA) an association of black physicians. This apology is a huge step forward on the path to reducing health disparities in health care delivery, physician resources and education.

According to the NMA, the discriminatory practices exhibited by the AMA, has contributed to the health care disparities in minority communities. Particularly, black communities. Black communities continue to be plagued high incidence rates of HIV/AIDS, diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, there is considerable concern with African American women who account for 66% of new HIV/AIDS cases. Physician education and physician resources are paramount is addressing these alarming public health issues and this is why AMA’s acknowledgement is important to the black health care providers and to the respective communities being served.

References

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. [Online]. National Healthcare Disparities Report. Retrieved from http://www.ahrq.gov/QUAL/nhdr03/nhdrsum03.htm#WhatAre on July 21, 2008.

National Medical Association. (July 10, 2008). NMA Accepts AMA Apology For History Of Racial Inequality. Press Release.

The Henry L. Kaiser Family Foundation. (May 2008). HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet. Retrieved from www.ktf.org on July 14, 2008.

Center For Disease Control and Prevention. (Revised 2007). HIV/AIDS Among African Americans. CDC HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/resources/factsheets/pdf/aa.pdf on June 30, 2007

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