Racial and ethnic disparities in health care are known to reflect access to care and other issues that arise from differing socioeconomic conditions. There is, however, increasing evidence that even after such differences are accounted for, race and ethnicity remain significant predictors of the quality of health care received.
In Unequal Treatment, a panel of experts documents this evidence and explores how persons of color experience the health care environment. The book examines how disparities in treatment may arise in health care systems and looks at aspects of the clinical encounter that may contribute to such disparities. Patients and providers attitudes, expectations, and behavior are analyzed.
How to intervene? Unequal Treatment offers recommendations for improvements in medical care financing, allocation of care, availability of language translation, community-based care, and other arenas. The committee highlights the potential of cross-cultural education to improve provider patient communication and offers a detailed look at how to integrate cross-cultural learning within the health professions. The book concludes with recommendations for data collection and research initiatives. Unequal Treatment will be vitally important to health care policymakers, administrators, providers, educators, and students as well as advocates for people of color.
"An excellent report for understanding the scope and depth of health care disparities... The report provides extensive, helpful discussion of the need for comprehensive, multilevel interventions as strategies for reducing health care disparities. ... Overall, this book represents essential reading for health professionals and others seeking a scientific foundation to help all to understand the factors that underlie health care disparities and the steps that must be taken to address them."
-- New Jersey Medicine, May 2004