Addressing Health Disparities In Asthma Educational Materials

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The following summarizes recent studies that discuss racial disparities in asthma educational materials and vascular disease.

  • Asthma:Asthma health educational materials targeted toward minorities need tobe culturally focused in order to be effective, according to a studypublished in the latest issue of Ethnicity and Disease, United Press International reports. For the report, lead researcher Jane Brotanek of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centerand colleagues identified 17 asthma educational brochures targetingminority children and their families in Wisconsin. Of the brochures, 15were targeted toward Hispanics, one was targeted toward AmericanIndians and none were targeted at blacks. Researchers found that thebrochures targeting American Indians did not include cultural issues,such as the group's general distrust of asthma medications or apractice called smudging, a cleansing ritual that burns sage and otherherbs to treat asthma. Brotanek said, "Some Navajo families inparticular don't see asthma as a chronic disease, so they don't usedaily controller medication to keep it in check," adding, "They feartheir child will become dependent on the medicine, so some parents eventry to wean their child off the medicine." Researchers also found thatthe Hispanic brochures included Spanish translation errors (United Press International, 11/19). An abstract of the study is available online(.pdf).
  • Vasculardisease: Hispanics are less likely than whites to undergo vascularsurgery, have less favorable outcomes from treatment and often haveadvanced stages of vascular disease once they do seek treatment,according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Reportreports. The study, led by Nicholas Morrissey, director of clinicaltrials and a vascular surgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center,focused on three common vascular surgery procedures -- lower extremityrevascularization, carotid revascularization and abdominal aorticaneurysm repair. The procedures were performed at hospitals in New Yorkand in Florida between 2000 and 2004. Following lower extremityrevascularization, Hispanics had a 6.2% amputation rate, compared with3.4% for whites. Hispanics also had a 5% death rate after electiveabdominal aortic aneurysm surgery, compared with 3.4% among whites.Hispanics also were two times more likely than whites to seek treatmentafter already developing advanced vascular disease and had longerhospital recovery stays, according to the study. Researchers said thedifferences might be related to a number of socioeconomic and geneticfactors (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/16). An abstract of the study is available online.

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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