Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Conceptualizing Health Disparities

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Conceptualizing Health Disparities

Article excerpt

The U.S. has a tremendously diverse population - arguably one of the nation's greatest assets, yet also a tremendous challenge for health care professionals. Although the American technology and biomedical industries have grown phenomenally, not all Americans have benefited commensurably. Health outcomes, access to care and health related experiences remain significantly disparate. Additionally, barriers to care and an insufficient understanding of cultural practices continue to preclude culturally competent care for individuals who do not fit the profile of the mainstream American.

Consistent with the NIH's goals concerning health disparities, this issue of the Journal of Cultural Diversity focuses on promoting and facilitating discourse on health research and encompasses a wide array of studies: clinical research, the influences of health processes, and the social and cultural dimensions of health. The authors in this special issue invite us to examine our conceptions of health disparities as we consider specific groups within the population. Collectively, they refocus our perspectives on health disparities, exploring diverse populations, health conditions, outcomes and experiences. In one study, we are challenged to consider access to care, socioeconomic factors and immunological differences in racial disparities among cardiac transplant recipients. One study explores mother-daughter communication patterns about food among low-income African American women and provides helpful insights for educational interventions in this target group. …

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