A Roadmap and Best Practices for Organizations to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care

In 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation began a national program, Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change, to identify promising interventions to reduce disparities in health care. This article, written by staff of the national program office at the University of Chicago, describes the work of the program to conduct systematic reviews of the literature, evaluate promising practices, provide technical assistance to health care organizations and disseminate their findings.

They suggest that reducing disparities is a dynamic process and that “organizations and providers need to take responsibility for reducing disparities, establish a general infrastructure and culture to improve quality, and integrate targeted disparities interventions into quality improvement efforts.”

The authors outline a roadmap of six steps that can be used by organizations, policy-makers and researchers:

  1. Recognize disparities and commit to reducing them
  2. Implement a basic quality improvement structure and process
  3. Make equity an integral component of quality improvement efforts
  4. Design the intervention(s)
  5. Implement, evaluate and adjust the intervention(s)
  6. Sustain the intervention(s)

This paper also introduces the five subsequent papers (refer to Browse Contents) that were commissioned by Finding Answers to conduct systematic reviews of the literature regarding interventions to improve outcomes for minorities in the areas of asthma, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, HIV prevention and prostate cancer.

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Interventions to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care

This special interview between Melissa Partin, PhD, Deputy Editor of the Journal of General Internal Medicine and Marshall Chin, MD, Director of Finding Answers discusses a roadmap for ending health disparities.

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