DiversityNursing Blog

African American Health Disparities

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Sep 14, 2017 @ 11:19 AM

disparities.pngResearch has documented a number of racial disparities in health care, including higher death rates among African-Americans than whites. New government data shows some significant improvements.

The study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found African Americans are living longer. The death rate for African Americans has declined about 25% over 17 years, primarily for those aged 65 years and older.

However, younger African Americans are living with or dying of many conditions typically found in white Americans at older ages.The difference shows up in African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s for diseases and causes of death.

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Chronic diseases and some of their risk factors may be silent or not diagnosed during these early years. Health differences are often due to economic and social conditions that are more common among African Americans than whites. For example, African American adults are more likely to report they cannot see a doctor because of cost. All Americans should have equal opportunities to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

According to the 2016 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, some disparities were getting smaller from 2000 through 2014-2015, but disparities persist, especially for poor and uninsured populations in all priority areas:

  • While 20% of measures show disparities getting smaller for Blacks and Hispanics, most disparities have not changed significantly for any racial and ethnic groups.
  • More than half of measures show that poor and low-income households have worse care than high-income households; for middle-income households, more than 40% of measures show worse care than high-income households.
  • Nearly two-thirds of measures show that uninsured people had worse care than privately insured people.

It is important to create opportunities for all Americans to pursue a healthy lifestyle. What can be done?

The Federal government is

  • Collecting data to monitor and track health and conditions that may affect health, such as poverty and high school graduation rates, through Healthy People 2020. http://bit.ly/2oDhWV4
  • Supporting partnerships between scientific researchers and community members to address diseases and conditions that affect some populations more than others.
  • Addressing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, which disproportionately affect African Americans, by implementing national initiatives such as Million Hearts®. http://bit.ly/2p0Ux0N
  • Supporting actions to create healthy food environments and increase physical activity in underserved communities.

Public health professionals can

  • Use proven programs to reduce disparities and barriers to create opportunities for health.
  • Work with other sectors, such as faith and community organizations, education, business, transportation, and housing, to create social and economic conditions that promote health starting in childhood.
  • Link more people to doctors, nurses, or community health centers to encourage regular and follow-up medical visits.
  • Develop and provide trainings for healthcare professionals to understand cultural differences in how patients interact with providers and the healthcare system.


Community organizations can

  • Train community health workers in underserved communities to educate and link people to free or low-cost services.
  • Conduct effective health promotion programs in community, work, school, and home settings.
  • Work across sectors to connect people with services that impact health, such as transportation and housing.
  • Help people go see their doctor, take all medications as prescribed, and get to follow-up appointments.


Healthcare providers can

  • Work with communities and healthcare professional organizations to eliminate cultural barriers to care.
  • Connect patients with community resources that can help people remember to take their medicine as prescribed, get prescription refills on time, and get to follow-up visits.
  • Learn about social and economic conditions that may put some patients at higher risk than others for having a health problem.
  • Collaborate with primary care physicians to create a comprehensive and coordinated approach to patient care.
  • Promote a trusting relationship by encouraging patients to ask questions.

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Topics: African Americans, health disparities

Diversity Impact 2017- Moving Forward: Uniting Through Diversity

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Tue, Jun 06, 2017 @ 02:20 PM

fnu2.jpeg

First article written by Frontier Nursing University
Second article Written by Marissa Silver

Frontier Nursing University believes in increasing awareness of the importance of cultural competency and decreasing health disparities. This article is about their 7th annual Diversity Impact Event. FNU states “Diversity Impact is designed to open the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups.” Enjoy this informative article.

In a rapidly-changing, sometimes divided world, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) emphasizes the value of respecting and honoring diversity.

In the United States, there is a wide gap in health outcomes. Several populations face greater obstacles in obtaining good health based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, mental health, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or geographic location. These disparities may exist because of social and economic inequality, inadequate health care providers or systems, and bias on the part of health care providers or patients.

The gap forming in the health of women before and during pregnancies is also a source of concern. Determinants of a mother’s health may include social factors, ethnic or racial group, or her previous health statufnu1.jpegs. An infant child is also impacted by factors such as nutrition, family income, and the geographic location of their homes and neighborhoods.

Additionally, consider this: women living in rural areas have less access to health care than women living in urban areas. Where 22.8% of women live in what is defined as a “rural” area in the U.S.¹, there is a significant disparity between the health care they receive and the health care received by the “urban” population of women.

Although health care needs around the nation are diverse, health care providers do not reflect the population. In 2008, only 16.8% of Registered Nurses residing in the United States represented diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds². Additionally, underrepresented groups make up less than 10% of nursing school faculty³. The nursing profession faces the challenge of recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse workforce that mirrors the nation's demographics.

With these challenges in mind, it is important that our education system equips nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and other healthcare professionals with the resources they need to eliminate these disparities, and ultimately achieve health equity.FNU would like to see the Frontier community impact health equity and move forward by uniting through diversity.

On June 1- 4, 2017, Frontier Nursing University held the 7th annual Diversity Impact Student Conference. Diversity Impact is designed to open the door for nurses to foster and strengthen collaborative discussions to address health disparities to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Students will engage in cross-cultural and intercultural workshop activities, along with leadership strategies on current diversity healthcare trends as it relates to patient-provider care.

This year’s Diversity Impact theme is Moving Forward: Uniting Through Diversity. Students will attend sessions hosted by nationally recognized nursing leaders; participate in teambuilding activities, cultural competency awareness training, and open dialogues; network with available FNU students, community leaders, faculty and staff; and learn more about the world with FNU’s International Food Menu.

fnu3.jpegFrontier Nursing University conference discusses healthcare diversity

Factors such as someone's age, race, gender and ethnicity can all play a role in their healthcare.

This weekend, Frontier Nursing University students attended a conference, to learn how those factors and other differences between populations may impact a patient's health and treatment. One factor, which may impact patients in Eastern Kentucky is living in rural communities.

"It's like a totally different population than what you see in urban areas," Vaishu Jawahar who attended the conference said. "Even though we think that sometimes urban populations have it bad, the sheer lack of resources that's out here makes being in a rural area that much harder."

Another topic discussed during the conference was caring for those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

"As healthcare providers, no matter what your political views are you have to be able to take care of everyone or at least make them feel comfortable enough to seek out your care," said Jawahar.

As part of the discussion on serving the LGBT community, two Frontier Nursing University students talked about their experience treating patients during last year's mass shooting, at Pulse, a Gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Overall, those who attended the conference said taking the time to get to know the patient and their background can make a difference.

"It's so easy for us to get caught up in our way of life, we forget there's very different realities for everyone," Wilvena Bernard, Diversity Pride Program Coordinator, Frontier Nursing University said.

More than 50 students and faculty attended the conference from across the country.

Last month, University officials announced they are moving student activities from the Hyden campus to Versailles by Fall of 2018.

Interested in learning more about Frontier Nursing University? Check out their Employer Profile! Just Click Here.

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Topics: diversity, cultural competence, Diversity and Inclusion, cultural competency, minority health, health disparities, health care providers

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