Initiatives, Events Seek To Address Racial, Ethnic Health Care Disparities
The following highlights initiatives and events that seek to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
- Annapolis, Md.: The Annapolis Capital on Tuesday profiled Sandi Shanahan, a nurse practioner who runs a not-for-profit health clinic in a local apartment building that treats mostly Hispanic patients. Of the nearly 20,000 Hispanics in Anne Arundel County, about 2,300 live in Annapolis, according to the most recent Census data. Shanahan has run the clinic since 2005 and offers low- or no-cost services to uninsured adults. A bilingual volunteer schedules appointments and helps her communicate with patients. Shanahan also works with a network of local physicians and pharmacists who work with patients for discount prices. The clinic is funded through grants, private donations and fundraisers (Woodards, Annapolis Capital, 3/17).
- Florida: The Orlando Sentinel recently profiled several organizations that use community health educators to target the migrant community with health messages. Community health educators are trained volunteers that share their knowledge of health issues such as breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity with others in their community. Programs offering health educators in Florida include the Hispanic Health Initiative, Central Florida Health Care and the Lake County Community Health Worker Program (Ruano Gonzalez, Orlando Sentinel, 3/14).
- Orlando, Fla.: Five former U.S. surgeons general on Wednesday at a public forum at Florida Hospital Orlando discussed health care disparities and other access to care issues U.S. residents face, the Sentinel reports. At the forum, the surgeons general said there is a lack of focus on disease prevention and differences in quality of care in the U.S. health care system. "Health disparities are the evil twin of racial disparities," Richard Carmona, who served from 2002 to 2006, said, adding, "If you are Hispanic or African-American, you will come to health care later, you will cost society more and you will die" sooner than the general population (Shelton, Orlando Sentinel, 3/18).
- Houston: Baylor College of Medicine's Office of Outreach and Health Disparities on Thursday sponsored a play called "Zoot Suit Boogie" that featured humorous and educational cancer prevention messages targeting the Hispanic community. Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among Hispanics. The play presented bilingual information on prevention, risks and awareness of the disease and was followed by a question and answer period led by Brian Reed, vice chair for community health and an assistant professor of family and community medicine at BCM (BCM release, 3/16).