Effort in Nassau County, N.Y., To Address Racial Health Disparities ‘Deserves Kudos,’ Editorial Says
"The yawning disparity in the effectiveness of health care between racial minorities and whites is a stubborn, deadly problem," a Long Island Newsday editorial states, adding that Nassau Health Care Corp. "deserves kudos for stepping up to the plate" and addressing the problem (Long Island Newsday, 11/20).
Nassau County, N.Y., Executive Thomas Suozzi and NHCC officials last week announced the development of a $6 million Institute for Health Care Disparities, which will aim to reduce health care disparities between minority and white residents. Arthur Gianelli, president and CEO of NHCC, said the institute -- which will be the first in the state to specifically target underserved populations -- will focus primarily on cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, pediatric asthma and obesity. The institute will aim to aid access to screening, medical treatment and follow-up care (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 11/16).
While Nassau County is "one of the wealthiest" areas of the country, it is also among the "most segregated" and is "home to 33 medically underserved communities," the editorial says.
"The challenge now is to implement all those good intentions in a way that will earn the trust and cooperation of the people the corporation hopes to serve," the editorial states, adding, "That won't be easy. The history of medical experimentation on blacks and substandard treatment for minorities is shameful and has made many minorities wary of initiatives that target them. Winning them over is essential."
The editorial concludes, "If successful, the institute would be a model for effectively serving the medical needs of black, Hispanic and [Asian-American] patients. But for that to happen, divides of language, culture and experience have to be bridged. It's a big job, and a critical one" (Long Island Newsday, 11/20).