Awareness Of Racial And Ethnic Health Disparities Has Improved Only Modestly Over A Decade

NORC at the University of Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.64). 10/2011; 30(10):1860-7. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0702
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Documented disparities exist in the United States between the majority white population and various racial and ethnic minority populations on several health and health care indicators, including access to and quality of care, disease prevalence, infant mortality, and life expectancy. However, awareness of these disparities-a necessary first step toward changing behavior and compelling action-remains limited. Our survey of 3,159 adults age eighteen or older found that 59 percent of Americans in 2010 were aware of racial and ethnic disparities that disproportionately affect African Americans and Hispanics or Latinos. That number represents a modest increase over the 55 percent recorded in a 1999 survey. Meanwhile, in our survey, 89 percent of African American respondents were aware of African American and white disparities, versus 55 percent of whites. Yet the survey also revealed low levels of awareness among racial and ethnic minority groups about disparities that disproportionately affect their own communities. For example, only 54 percent of African Americans were aware of disparities in the rate of HIV/AIDS between African Americans and whites, and only 21 percent of Hispanics or Latinos were aware of those disparities between their group and whites. Policy makers must increase the availability and quality of data on racial and ethnic health disparities and create multisectoral partnerships to develop targeted educational campaigns to increase awareness of health disparities.

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