Addressing Health Disparities

Where Should We Start?

Published In: HSR, Health Services Research, Vol. 37, no. 5, Oct. 2002, Editorial, p. 1125-1127

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Nicole Lurie

It has long been recognized that the health status of minority populations is poorer than that of whites. The recent Institute of Medicine report titled Unequal Treatment has compiled a convincing body of evidence that among similarly insured groups, minority populations receive less care than whites (Institute of Medicine 2002). While most of the studies have focused on African American-white comparisons, disparities exist across all race and ethnic groups studied and span a wide clinical spectrum. While the causes of disparities are clearly multifactorial and extend well beyond the health care system, improving health care will address an important contributor to disparities. It is now time to move from documenting the problem, to taking action.

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