New England Ethnic News Features Interview With National Minority Health ExpertNew England Ethnic News this week featured an interview with Cheryl Boyce, chair of the National Association of State Offices of Minority Health and executive director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. In the interview, Boyce defined, discussed and detailed disparities in the health system and suggested ways health care officials and presidential candidates could address them. She also discussed the roles and initiatives of the commission and the minority health office and shared her own personal experience with the health care system as a black cancer survivor.
According to Boyce, health disparities are represented by a "disproportionate incidence of disability or death, based on the representation in the population." To address the issue, the health care system's "behavior" needs to change, Boyce said. She added that health care professionals should be trained in cultural competency to recognize "other world views and how people demonstrate health belief systems" and that providers should tailor services to a patient's individual risks.
"My thing is if you've got a population really at risk, should there be some consideration for this group? If we provide screening, early diagnostic kinds of things, maybe we may prevent late-stage diagnosis; maybe we can even prevent some disease processes," she said, adding, "But we do the same thing for everybody, and it's usually normed around white people." Boyce said that while the minority community "needs to shoulder its part on behavior change ... the [health care] system needs to acknowledge its need for behavior change, too" (Cooper, New England Ethnic News, 10/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.