Physician Education and Scholarship Center

Healthcare Disparities

Access to primary care is critical to reverse the disproportionate rates of increased morbidity and mortality rates among minorities, particularly African American groups, in almost every disease category. African American women have higher infant mortality rates, 12.65 deaths per 1,000 live births (CDC 2008 report), compared to white women, 5.5 deaths per 1,000 live births (CDC 2008 report) with a National average of 6.6 deaths per 1000 live births(CDC 2008 report).

The U.S. spends more money per capita on healthcare, yet in 2005, the U.S. was ranked 30th in infant mortality rate in the world. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders have higher infant mortality rates, lower life expectancy rates, and higher rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease than whites.

Another disconcerting statistic is that although Latino Americans and African Americans make up greater than 25 percent of the population, they only comprise 6 percent of all physicians in America as opposed to Asian Americans who comprise 6 percent of the population and 16 percent of all physicians. The lack of African American and Latino American physicians is particularly alarming since recent studies have shown that at times majority physicians unintentionally may not be as attentive to the dynamics and cultures of minority communities.
Patients feel more comfortable with physicians who look like them either same race or gender.

Other factors that contribute to healthcare disparities include but not limited to socioeconomic status, education and transportation all of which adversely affect the minority population.
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