Can racial health disparities be effectively reduced?

September 28, 2007

Studies show that minority patients generally receive a lower quality of health care compared to white patients. How can these disparities be reduced? A supplement to the October 2007 issue of Medical Care Research and Review, published by SAGE, thoroughly explores the effectiveness of health care interventions to answer that question.

The supplement features research from the Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change initiative, which reviewed over 200 interventions to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The literature review provides health care organizations, providers and payers with promising intervention recommendations on how they can reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their own organizations in the areas of: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and breast cancer. The study also examined the effect of two specific approaches--cultural leverage, and pay-for-performance incentives.

"The authors in this supplement provide a cutting-edge, systematic summary of strategies to promote equitable health outcomes for communities of color," writes the supplement's editor, Dr. Jeroan Allison, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham "This work serves as a tangible reminder that, although progress has been made, much remains to be done."

"Policy makers should support proven interventions and funding agencies should invest in expanded and coordinated research to better clarify the causes and consequences of health disparities," he added. "Interventions should be developed to promote equitable health outcomes for communities of color and researchers should address our understanding of how disparities operate, testing new interventions to move from understanding to change."
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The editorial to this supplement on Racial Disparities can be accessed for a limited time at http://mcrr.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/64/5S/5S. The Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change program was established in 2005 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and draws on experts in the health care policy, delivery and quality improvement fields to encourage, evaluate and disseminate new interventions to reduce disparities. To learn more, go to www.SolvingDisparities.org.

About SAGE

SAGE Publications is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine. A privately owned corporation, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore. www.sagepublications.com

About Medical Care Research and Review

For over 60 years, the respected Medical Care Research and Review (formerly Medical Care Review) has been a pioneering journal for researchers, policy makers, and health care administrators in the area of health services research. The journal publishes critical reviews of literature on organizational structure, economics, and the financing of health and medical care systems, reflecting the current growth of the field and the increasing importance of health services research. http://mcrr.sagepub.com/

SAGE

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