Health Disparities in Louisville Research Paper

Pages: 10 (3177 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Healthcare

As one study notes; "…approximately 4,110 people are diagnosed every day with diabetes. In 2005, 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people age 20 years or older" (Galvin, 2006, p. 157).

Diabetes in Louisville is of particular concern in terms of the disparities in access and treatment opportunities. The statistics in this regard for Louisville as well as in other area of the country are alarming. " Compared with white adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives are 2.3 times, African-Americans are 1.6 times, and Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to have diagnosed diabetes" (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). Addressing Disparities in Health).

In Kentucky the statistics in terms of the disparity in diabetes is as follows: 6.3% White, 10.4% African-American ( Samuels, 2005). The following statistics represent a breakdown of the figures for diabetes in the region.

Eastern Kentucky: 60,938 7.3

Western Kentucky: 42,763 6.1

Louisville: 33,554 5.7

Central Kentucky: 25,037 4.9

Northern Kentucky: 16,360 5.2.

( Samuels, 2005),

As is clear from these figures, Louisville has a comparatively high rate of diabetes. One also has to take into consideration that the high number of diabetes sufferers in the city is to be found in the western section of the city.

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Diabetes can be an extremely debilitating disease and one that requires a great deal of medical support and assistance. It is therefore obvious that where there is a disparity of health services and support, as is the case in Louisville, then this tends to exacerbate the suffering of the patient and to reduce the possibility of successful treatment.

Research Paper on Health Disparities in Louisville Assignment

Diabetes is a disease in which approximately seventy percent of those who suffer from the illness have some degree of nerve damage; which in turn often results in lower limb amputations. This again is a costly and rehabilitative intensive procedure which requires extensive health and medical support. This is one of the reasons for the high death rate in the area and among African-Americans. As one report emphasizes: "African-Americans in Louisville suffer and die more frequently from heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Poor nutrition increases risk for all these health problems" (GradNation - Making the Connection: Health & Student Achievement).

Psycho- Sociological Aspects and Physical Exercise

Hofrighter (2006) makes a number of important assumptions in his study of Louisville. The following apply to the present study.

Health is a social concept, not only a medical one

Health is a collective public good, actively produced by institutions and social policies.

(Hofrichter, 2006, p. 12)

While social factors such as racism and prejudice determine health conditions through policy among the disenfranchised, psychological factors to a great extent prefigure and instigate negative social outcomes. The psychological experience of being marginalized and neglected can lead to feelings of neglect and outrage particularly when it involves unequal access to healthcare; which in turn can be translated into negative social actions.

To compound the situation psychological stressors have been positively correlated with poor health and a propensity for various immune- system related illnesses. As Hofrichter states, "Communities, for example, with higher rates of economic disinvestments…. poor quality of housing, decreased access to nutritious foods, and other multiple stressors, will be more likely to have populations with higher blood pressure and other chronic illnesses" (Hofrichter, 2006, p. 15).

One factor that has been found to be extremely helpful in stress reduction is regular exercise. As one study notes; "Exercise can decrease 'stress hormones' like cortisol, and increase endorphins, your body's 'feel-good' chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost" ( Scott, 2011).

Furthermore, exercise has physical as well as psychological benefits. In terms of managing diabetes studies have found that,

Regular exercise can help your body respond to insulin and is known to be effective in managing blood glucose. Exercise can lower blood glucose and possibly reduce the amount of medication you need to treat diabetes, or even eliminate the need for medication.

(Glucose Control -- Exercise)

Stress has also been found to be beneficial in improving blood circulation, which is an important factor in diabetes as those who suffer fro the disease often experience problems in their limbs. The importance of exercise in the controlling and management of diabetes through regular exercise is emphasized by the following statement: "…exercise combined with a meal plan, can control Type 2 Diabetes without the need for medications"(Glucose Control -- Exercise). It therefore follows from the above that exercises is positively linked to diabetes and other conditions -- but facilities for regular exercise are often not catered for in lower income neighborhoods like the west side of Louisville


As Hofrichter (2006) states"…addressing health inequities will demand a supportive environment for and collaboration with staff as well as community-based organizations ( Hofrichter, 2006,P. vii) This study also notes the important fact that in order to adequately address the problem of health disparities in the region one has to focus on the root causes such as social prejudice and injustice. (Hofrichter, 2006, p. 12). In other words, awareness of the fact that these inequalities have social and even political foundations is an essential aspect of any prevention program.

To this end in recent year there have been a number of local as well as regional initiatives to combat health marginalization and inequality in the Louisville area, and elsewhere in the country. For example, with regard to disparities in cancer treatment, a major focus of the NCCCP or the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program has been to help reduce "... The cancer burden among underserved populations, such as African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino-Americans ..." (Norton Cancer Institute Joins National Cancer Institute Program to Enhance Cancer Research and Care at Community Hospitals, 2010)

An example of the measures that have been taken include the involvement of those effected in clinical trials in community-based settings. In this respect a report from the NCCCP states that," Louisville-area patients will have access to the very latest cancer prevention and treatment advances through additional clinical trials" (Norton Cancer Institute Joins National Cancer Institute Program to Enhance Cancer Research and Care at Community Hospitals, 2010)

Furthermore, there have been efforts to improve the overall quality of care of these patients. This includes the introduction of new treatment techniques as well as multidisciplinary specialty teams to deal with serious illness such as diabetes and cancer. There has also been on emphasis on the inclusion of patient advocates in the treatment protocols (Norton Cancer Institute Joins National Cancer Institute Program to Enhance Cancer Research and Care at Community Hospitals, 2010).

Further efforts to improve healthcare access to the West section of the city include the establishment of the Center for Health Equity in 2006 by the Metro Louisville Health Department. This again emphasizes the importance that is being placed on the need to focus attention on these disparities as a means of preventing a further decline in community health. Another initiative that indicates the way forward in eradicating bias in treatment and access to adequate healthcare is the Louisville Healthy Start Program. This program was recently awarded $1,275,000 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with the aim of "…reducing to health disparities for new mothers and infants" (Yarmuth Announces $1,275,000 in Federal Funding for Louisville Healthy Start, 2009).


The literature in general paints a rather gloomy picture of the level of health disparity in Americas. This is linked to the often extreme disparity between rich and poor. As Hofrichter states," income inequality in the U.S. is greater than in any other industrialized country in the world (Hofrichter, 2006, p. 15).

As has been suggested in the above discussion, the main focus of prevention is on the reduction of social as well as economic disparities between the east and the west areas of the city. This includes increasing and ongoing efforts to include the community in various healthcare programs and initiatives that will serve to improve their healthcare situation. Central to this problem is the importance of cognition or awareness of the extent of the problem in developed countries such as the United Sates. This aim is exemplified in the goals of the Louisville Center for Health Equity

The backbone of CHE's work is empowering community members and policymakers to realize that health and safety have less to do with individual choices and more to do with opportunities for health based on socioeconomic status, race and geography.

(Eliminating social and economic barriers to good health and safety: Louisville

Center for Health Equity)

Consequently, there is a need to broaden the awareness of these disparities and to strengthen the efforts to reduce artificial barriers that prevent open and equal access to adequate healthcare for all.


Eliminating social and economic barriers to good health and safety: Louisville

Center for Health Equity. Retrieved from

Galvin, J.R. (2006) Diabetes. Ebony, 61 p. 157.

GradNation - Making the Connection: Health & Student Achievement. Retrieved from

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APA Style

Health Disparities in Louisville.  (2011, June 15).  Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Health Disparities in Louisville."  15 June 2011.  Web.  28 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Health Disparities in Louisville."  June 15, 2011.  Accessed September 28, 2020.