Discussing Minority Health Disparities

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Health Disparities

On Thursday during a visitto the Monterey Conference Center in California, former U.S. Surgeon GeneralAntonia Novello discussed minority health issues and urged doctors to do abetter job of reaching out to underserved communities, the Salinas Californian reports. Novello served as surgeongeneral from 1990 to 1993 under the George H.W. Bush administration. She spokeat a luncheon of the Community Hospital Foundation and its auxiliary that wasattended by more than 300 health professionals (Calderon, SalinasCalifornian, 1/24).

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She noted that rather than solely socioeconomic issues, cultural andcommunication factors also influence health disparities. Other factors include"poverty, lack of good health insurance, lack of good health care anddistrust of the system," she said. She added, "Doctors do not takeenough time to tell communities of color what they need to do." Accordingto Novello, communication problems between doctors and minority patients couldintimidate patients, making them less likely to return for care (Taylor, Monterey County Herald, 1/25).

Novello also suggested that hospitals work with medical schools to recruitminority students and award scholarships, if necessary. She said, "Let'sget to (minority) students early and make them believe medicine is a wonderfulfield they can make a difference in" (Salinas Californian, 1/24).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor 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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