Cambridge, Mass., Studies Look at Racial, Gender Health Disparities
The Cambridge, Mass., Public Health Department, in conjunction with several local community groups and organizations, recently released two reports that highlight health disparities among genders, races and ethnicities, the Boston Globe reports. The city has a high student population, as well as growing numbers of minorities and immigrants, which can make it more difficult to get an accurate picture of residents' health, according to the Globe.
One of the reports focused on the health issues of men. The report, among other issues, found that black men in Cambridge are hospitalized for diabetes at a rate 48% higher than that of white men. Claude-Alix Jacob, the city's chief public health officer, said the finding indicates a need for more community-based outreach efforts.
The second report focused on the health of women and young girls and found that 47% of women in Cambridge diagnosed with HIV progress to AIDS within three months, which is significantly higher than the statewide average and the average for men, Kimberly Sansoucy, head of the commission involved with the report, said.
Sansoucy said explaining the finding is complicated. "Are there immigrant women who come into the country with HIV who are not then treated once they arrive here? Is it because women with HIV are isolated within their communities, because they don't have access to health care, because of cultural differences where women do not have as much independence or are not allowed to seek treatment? Those are the questions we hope to spur with public health officials," she said.
Jacob added, "Part of this is figuring out how we tailor our outreach to not only the lower socioeconomic status, but also to some of the other immigrants that are here" (Cheng, Boston Globe, 7/20).
The men's health report is available online (.pdf). The report on women and girls also is available online (.pdf).