Efforts Seek To Improve Minority Health

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The following summarizes efforts that seek to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

* San Francisco: Asian Week on Wednesday profiled the partnership between Bristol-Myers Squibb and the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign, which aims to raise hepatitis B awareness -- especially among Asian-Americans, who are disproportionately affected by the disease. As part of the effort, advocacy teams were established to work in Asian-American communities to improve disease awareness and strengthen existing advocacy networks. For the past four years, the pharmaceutical company also has partnered with the Hepatitis B Foundation for a public health initiative called "AIM for the B-Awareness, Involvement and Mobilization for Chronic Hepatitis B," which stresses the importance of disease management (Pang, Asian Week, 10/21).

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* Fort Worth, Texas: Texas health professionals this month held a panel discussion at the University of North Texas' Health Science Center that focused on racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates, the Fort Worth Business Press reports. In 2005, there were 14.1 black infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 5.7 white infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Michael Lu, a physician who studies health disparities in women and children, was the guest speaker at the event. He said the problem with most research on birth outcome disparities is that it focuses only on pregnancy factors rather than the lifetime health of the mother. Lu recommended comprehensive health care for women to address the disparities (Bassett, Fort Worth Business Press, 10/20).

* Montgomery County, Md.: The Capital News Service recently profiled the Latino Health Initiative, which aims to address a state nursing shortage by helping foreign-trained nurses learn English and meet U.S. medical standards to obtain a license. The program, which began in 2005, now is called the Licensure of Foreign-Trained Nursing Professionals Program, and in December it will begin targeting nursing professionals of all nationalities. The program covers most of the training costs for the nurses and, with a grant from the Maryland Hospital Association, soon will expand to additional locations in the state, including Baltimore (Bogdan, Capital News Service, 10/17).

* Phoenix: Phoenix's Children's Hospital and Rio Salado College have partnered to develop the Spanish Medical Interpretation curriculum -- two online interactive college-level courses that train bilingual health professionals to become proficient medical interpreters, the Arizona Republic reports. The SPA 205 class is an introduction to Spanish interpretation for medical interpreters and addresses the code of ethics, national standards and medical interpreters' responsibilities. Interpretation for emergency first responders also is included. Medical vocabulary, including human anatomy and physiology, is taught in the SPA 206 course in Spanish and English. The online format incorporates videos and interactive activities that "simulate the in-person experience," the Republic reports (Arizona Republic, 10/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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