Effort To Address Racial Health Disparities 'Deserves Kudos'

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Racial Health Disparities

"The yawning disparity in the effectiveness of health care betweenracial minorities and whites is a stubborn, deadly problem," a Long Island Newsday editorial states, adding that Nassau Health Care Corp. "deserves kudos for stepping up to the plate" and addressing the problem (Long Island Newsday, 11/20).

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NassauCounty, N.Y., Executive Thomas Suozzi and NHCC officials last weekannounced the development of a $6 million Institute for Health CareDisparities, which will aim to reduce health care disparities betweenminority and white residents. Arthur Gianelli, president and CEO ofNHCC, said the institute -- which will be the first in the state tospecifically target underserved populations -- will focus primarily oncardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, pediatricasthma and obesity. The institute will aim to aid access to screening,medical treatment and follow-up care (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 11/16).

WhileNassau County is "one of the wealthiest" areas of the country, it isalso among the "most segregated" and is "home to 33 medicallyunderserved communities," the editorial says.

"The challengenow is to implement all those good intentions in a way that will earnthe trust and cooperation of the people the corporation hopes toserve," the editorial states, adding, "That won't be easy. The historyof medical experimentation on blacks and substandard treatment forminorities is shameful and has made many minorities wary of initiativesthat target them. Winning them over is essential."

The editorialconcludes, "If successful, the institute would be a model foreffectively serving the medical needs of black, Hispanic and[Asian-American] patients. But for that to happen, divides of language,culture and experience have to be bridged. It's a big job, and acritical one" (Long Island Newsday, 11/20).

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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