Studies Look at Food Marketing Aimed at Minority Communities; Racial Ethnic Diversity Among Medical School Student Populations
"The Context for Choice: Health Implications of Targeted Food and Beverage Marketing to African Americans," American Journal of Public Health: Sonya Grier of the American University Kogod School of Business' Department of Marketing and Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Pediatrics reviewed 20 studies published from June 1992 through 2006 that looked at food and beverage marketing to blacks and whites. Eight of the studies looked at product promotions, 11 were on retail food locations and three focused on food prices. Researchers concluded that while the evidence is limited, blacks are "consistently exposed to food promotion and distribution patterns with relatively greater potential adverse health effects than are whites" (Grier/Kumanyika, AJPH, September 2008).
"Student Body Racial and Ethnic Composition and Diversity-Related Outcomes in U.S. Medical Schools," Journal of the American Medical Association: The study examines whether having a racially and ethnically diverse medical school student population affects students' preparedness to meet the needs of diverse patients. Researchers used a Web-based survey administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges that included responses from 20,112 graduating medical students from 118 medical schools across the U.S. According to the survey, white students from the most diverse student populations were more likely than others to rate themselves as highly prepared to treat minority patients. The association between a diverse student population and students' self-assessed readiness to handle a diverse patient population was strongest in schools that had positive interracial interaction between students, according to the study. There was no significant association between a diverse student population and students' preparedness to care for diverse patients among nonwhite students. The study also indicates that white students from the most diverse medical schools also were more likely than others to have strong attitudes endorsing equitable access to care (Saha et al., JAMA, 9/10).
"Diversifying the Medical Classroom: Is More Evidence Needed?" The JAMA study on medical school student populations fills a need for additional evidence on the effect of a diverse physician population on access to and quality of care, Olveen Carrasquillo of the Columbia University Medical Center and Elizabeth Lee-Rey of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine write in a JAMA editorial. They note that the proportion of medical school graduates who are from an underrepresented minority group has "stubbornly remained in the 10% to 15% range" despite efforts to increase physician diversity. They recommend that medical schools re-examine their admission policies and work to increase student diversity (Carrasquillo/Lee-Rey, JAMA, 9/10).