Three Maryland Counties Become More Diverse, More Racial Health Disparities Come to Light, Report Says
As Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland continue to become more diverse, they also experience serious health disparities, according to a new report from Adventist HealthCare's Center on Health Disparities, the Washington Post reports. The primary service areas for Adventist hospitals are the three counties. The report covers data from 2000 to present, a time period in which the "white population in the counties dropped as a proportion of the total" and the number of blacks, Hispanics and Asians grew.
According to the report, "Partnering Toward a Healthier Future":
- Blacks in Montgomery County have a double-digit rate of infant mortality, higher than any other group in any of the three counties;
- Regardless of jurisdiction, blacks' rate of prostate cancer is at least one-third higher than that of whites;
- Hispanics in Frederick have a rate of hospitalization for stroke more than twice as high as Hispanics in Prince George's; and
- Asians likely have the highest mortality rate from cervical cancer regionally.
The report stated, "Without action, the existing health disparities affecting these communities will only grow more pronounced." Local health departments, state agencies and not-for-profit groups should expand services for racial and ethnic minorities, according to the report, which also called for additional funding and resources for screening initiatives, support services and care (Levine, Washington Post, 12/1).
William "Bill" Robertson, president and CEO of Adventist HealthCare, in a statement said, "There are deep and too-often overlooked holes in our health care fabric. All of us need to understand the wealth of diversity that exists in our communities, the different health beliefs and health-seeking behaviors practiced and how trust is built between patients and medical providers" (Miller, Washington Examiner, 12/1).
The report is available online (.pdf). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.