Massachusetts Hispanics, Blacks Have Higher Infant Mortality, HIV/AIDS-Related Mortality Rates, Report Finds
Hispanics and blacks living in Massachusetts are disproportionately affected by diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and have a higher infant mortality rate, according to a report released Wednesday by the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Boston Globe reports (Smith, Boston Globe, 11/29). The 300-page report is being called the most comprehensive data available on health care disparities in the state, according to the Springfield Republican.
The report found that Hispanics in western Massachusetts had the highest mortality rate from HIV/AIDS-related causes of any race in the state. From 2003 to 2005, there were 29.3 deaths from such causes among blacks per 100,000 residents -- almost 10 times the state average of three HIV/AIDS-related deaths per 100,000 residents.
Hispanics had the highest teenage birth rate in the state, with 108 births per 1,000 residents between ages 15 and 19. The state average was five times lower at 22 births per 1,000 residents (Ring, Springfield Republican, 11/29).
In addition, blacks living in central Massachusetts had the highest infant mortality rate at four times the state average, according to the report (Boston Globe, 11/29).
Gov. Deval Patrick (D) said in a statement, "The data from the report are clear and disturbing," adding, "Eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities is a major priority for our administration." After the release of the report, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that it will distribute $1 million in grants that seek to "support work to improve delivery of health care," provide funding to increase for job training for minorities seeking health care positions and pay for programs involved in eliminating disparities, the Republican reports (Springfield Republican, 11/29). The grants will be awarded to 42 clinics, hospitals and community groups that will address the disparities (Boston Globe, 11/29). Patrick said, "With the help of these grantees, we will tackle this problem across the commonwealth" (Springfield Republican, 11/29).
The report is available online.