Researchers Identify Four Key Areas to Reduce Health Care Disparities and Save Lives of African Americans and Hispanics

    • October 6, 2009

Researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry estimated the impact that eliminating disparities in health care between racial and ethnic minorities and whites would have on minority health.

The researchers:

  • Identified medical and surgical interventions when there was robust evidence of disparities by race or ethnicity and strong evidence of the interventions' effectiveness.
  • Estimated the impact of these disparities on minority health in terms of lives lost.

Key Findings

The researchers estimated that:

  • If blood pressure levels among African Americans were equivalent to those of whites, there would be 30,000 fewer deaths among African-American men and women over five years.
  • If African Americans under treatment for high cholesterol achieved the same levels of LDL-C cholesterol as whites, there would be 23,440 fewer deaths among African-American men and women over five years.
  • If African-American and Hispanic vaccination rates for influenza were equal to vaccination rates among whites, there would be 1,330 fewer deaths among African Americans and 550 fewer deaths among Hispanics per year.
  • Eliminating disparities between African Americans and whites in five-year breast cancer survival rates would result in 2,120 fewer deaths over five years among African-American women.
  • Eliminating racial disparities in the provision of dialysis and kidney transplant for end-stage renal disease would result in 2,700 fewer deaths among African Americans per year.

Key Conclusions

  • Racial and ethnic disparities in health care for cardiovascular disease, influenza vaccination, cancer treatment and kidney transplant contribute significantly to minority deaths.
  • Interventions targeting these four disparities will have the greatest potential impact on minority health.