NMA Annual Convention To Focus on Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities, Columnist Writes
The annual convention of the National Medical Association will give "special attention" to racial and ethnic health disparities, Melody McCloud, a physician and writer in Atlanta, writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She adds that despite efforts from HHS and CDC and local initiatives, Hispanics and blacks continue to have the highest incidence and worst prognoses for many diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS. She also notes that even those with health insurance "still lag far behind in successful health care outcomes."
The conference this year also will address challenges physicians face, including insurance requirements, legislative agendas and compensation. NMA, which represents more than 25,000 black physicians in the U.S., has "launched an aggressive agenda of community education and global outreach ... to effect a change in the health status of high-risk patients nationwide and abroad," McCloud says.
McCloud writes, "Despite the multilevel challenges to minority patients and the physicians who care for them, there is hope that one day, with a concerted effort from government and the private sectors ... and with a commitment from patients themselves to make use of the services available, patient apathy will wane, services will become more widely available and better utilized, and a change will come that improves the health of all U.S. citizens, especially those most in need." She concludes, "The NMA is an important adjunct to this national goal" (McCloud, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/28).