Beyond Equal Care: How Health Systems Can Impact Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

By Kate Meyers, MPP

Winter 2008 - Volume 12 Number 1

Much has been written on the existence of racial and ethnic differences in health status and health care access and quality in the US. Researchers, think tanks, government entities, and advocacy organizations have worked to summarize many of the root causes, environmental and behavioral influences, and health system factors that play a role. Yet sustained and significant change has been elusive.
Many of the initiatives and efforts aimed at reducing health disparities have focused on the role of the health care system. In this context, potential solutions usually include approaches such as cultural competency training, access to linguistically appropriate care, expansion of insurance coverage, and support for consistent delivery of known best care practices to all patients.

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