Minority health program brief

The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) has released a new program brief that summarizes recent findings (2008-2012) from published articles and other reports sponsored by AHRQ that focus on minority health and disparities reduction focusing on cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases, and more.

The overall health of the American population has improved over the past few decades, but not all Americans have benefitted equally from these improvements. Minority populations, in particular, continue to lag behind whites in a number of areas, including quality of care, access to care, timeliness, and outcomes. Other health care problems that disproportionately affect minorities include provider biases, poor provider-patient communication, and health literacy issues.

Improvements in preventive services, care for chronic conditions, and access to care have led to a reduction and in some cases elimination of disparities in access to and receipt of care for some minority populations in areas such as receipt of mammography, timing of antibiotics, counseling for smoking cessation, and pediatric vision care. On the other hand, disparities in care continue to be a problem for some conditions and populations. For example, blacks, Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanics continue to lag behind whites in the percentage of the population over 50 who receive colon cancer screening, and this gap has widened in recent years. Disparities also have increased for blacks and Hispanics, compared with whites, in the percentage of adults diagnosed with a major depressive disorder who received treatment for their depression in the 12 months following diagnosis.

Find the complete program brief here.

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