Alameda County, Calif., Task Force Releases Report Noting ‘Startling’ Racial Health Disparities
A health task force of Alameda County, Calif., residents on Tuesday released a report on access to care that points out "startling health disparities" and makes recommendations for improvements, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Task force members were appointed by Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. According to the report, black infants in Oakland are almost three times more likely to die than white infants; black adults are more likely than white adults to die from cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke; Hispanic adults are more likely die from diabetes and AIDS-related complications than whites; and Asian immigrants have higher levels of poverty, which affects their health care access. The task force made recommendations for improving access to care, including:
- Implementing a special health coordinator position in the mayor's office to oversee the creation of new health services, which could include mobile health vans, an extension of public clinic hours or an increase in peer education;
- Establishing a healthy community bill of rights and a regional focus group to review health issues in the community;
- Launching an educational marketing campaign that aims to encourage healthy living;
- Creating a list of available health services and identifying any gaps in access; and
- Encouraging residents to pursue careers in the health field.
According to the report, "The city of Oakland needs to recognize the severity of health disparities and work with Alameda County; health care organizations, including community clinics and public hospitals; and small businesses to identify practical solutions to reduce disparities, increase prevention strategies and provide access to needed medical care for all residents of Oakland" (Heredia, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/14). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.