Term Paper: Racial and Ethnic Approaches

Pages: 8 (3356 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Thus it is a very important public health function to remove these differences. For this purpose, providers and services must be stationed in underserved minority community areas to expand and maintain the efforts. Partnerships must be built up at all levels, and these include public and private providers: public health department, hospitals, MCH programs, Ryan White programs, health centers, free clinics, universities, and school-based health care programs. All of them must work together so that other communities are inspired to take up the challenge. This will build up partnerships between national organizations representing racial and ethnic minorities, physicians, State and local health departments and State governments. Straightforward measures like blood pressure checks cannot eliminate such health disparities - the difficulties are far more complex and broad ranging. The fight against infant mortality also involves a fight against smoking, poor nutrition, and substance abuse. The fight against cancer involves the issues of tobacco, poor nutrition and substance abuse. The absence of hope for a meaningful future will also be attacked in this fight against disparities in health.

All the fights are difficult and essential elements of the same fight. The magnitude, difficulty, and complexity of eliminating disparity with such deep-rooted causes can lead to hesitation and skepticism, and that has to be realized. But these hesitations and skepticism ultimately leads to improving results, and that has to be ensured. Leadership through conducting research, expanding and improving programs to purchase or deliver quality health services, developing programs to reduce poverty, provide children with safe and healthy environments, and expanding prevention efforts has to be essentially provided.

With poor health status among minorities is closely associated their poverty, and the lack of equality in economic opportunity - and these are important considerations. Health status is also affected by the discrimination, which must be treated as a separate variable. To accurately reflect the needs of the community and demonstrate the necessity of addressing these disparities an essential requirement is high quality and uniform data. It is not enough that the data is accurate, but it must be thorough. This is seen in charts and tables, which present categories such as white, African-American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and 'other'. What is meant by the "other" category has to be clearly defined, and the subgroups shown within those categories. This extra effort will improve the usability of the data at federal, state and local levels.

With efforts targeted at the general public, public officials, community decision makers and leaders, and members of ethnic and minority groups to eliminate the health disparities, education will also play a major role. The children must be educated in schools about the basic principles of equality and equity. The community must supply the expertise needed for the efforts to be effective. The community must be involved from the beginning. There must be a social contract and a shared vision between the people serving and the people being served. Skills in working with different groups within the community are an important requirement. Community workers, who are present every day in the community, like postal employees, must be invited to participate in these efforts to remove disparities in health.

These secondary efforts end up being another level of connection through individuals who are within the community and know and understand the people. The family relationships must be understood better. It is seen that in some cultures, the families retain their cohesiveness even in very trying circumstances, whereas, in others remaining cohesive at any time is a challenge. There is a functional relationship between family and health, and between family and self-sacrifice in service, and this relationship has to be understood. Critical masses of competencies must be created, and further built up on the individual strengths. Identification of people who are highly competent at navigating around problems, dilemmas and obstacles is an important task, for which no ready-made solutions are available. But, these people must be found, and they must come along with their skills, so that they can teach us about their communities and families.

There are a few dollars that float down the community channels and these sometimes spark off a competition between some members of the internal ethnic groups. These competitions are best avoided for the evident mean spirit in these fights may lead to the loss of connections within the community. To improve the health conditions of the community will require a better understanding of the community, the relationships between the health status and the racial and community backgrounds. These will help in the development of culturally sensitive strategies. The thought must be on building infrastructure and collaborations to help communities to find out and meet their own needs. To reduce disparities within communities, it may be advisable to provide enough funds to national, regional, and community organizations. These funds should be redirected as necessary to build up capacity. With the funds that are now available, an effort should be made to think about their effective reallocation, and the complete funding plan for that reallocation. To assess the needs for funds itself, the communities need funds. The leaders of the communities have to have the tools and training to help them lobby for both dollars and resources. There is also planning and strategic assessments that are required. Trust and linkages among all groups have to be built up by the political leadership of the community. The problem must be viewed in a comprehensive manner, so that all can move forward together, strategically and with awareness. This needs vision and taking advantage of the opportunity, and action must be taken.

A variety of community-based, religious, grassroots and health care organizations that serve the target population are presently involved by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Breast and Cervical Cancer Coalition with support from CDC. The action plan of this community is to reduce the differences in breast and cervical cancer screening and outcomes between African-American and white women through the use of community advisors. To support, encourage and help women obtain the cancer screening services, as also navigate the health care system; work is being done by core groups of community health advisors, nurses and church representatives. The framework for this approach is called the Multilevel Approach toward Community Health (MATCH) framework. MATCH seeks to eliminate barriers faced by women trying to access health services are to be removed through health advisors. These health advisors are community based, and here they are the agents for change of behavior, and they lend credibility to the interventions, which are to reduce the risk for breast and cervical cancer. This also increases the reach within the community.

Lifesaving prevention programs and screening services across cultural divides, that would not otherwise be reached, are extended by this method. (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) National Center on Minority Health and Health disparities (NCMHD) of the National Institute of Health has been awarded $65.1 million for support for the year 2003. This is to be used for research on health disparities, and elimination of health disparities among racial and ethnic communities who belong to the minority groups and medically underserved. Congress has designated NCMHD to lead, coordinate, support and assess the efforts being made by NIH to reduce the health disparities among racial and ethnic communities, and medically underserved individuals, with a view to eliminating them ultimately. (HHS Awards more than 65 Million to eliminate health disparities)

CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has been funding Alabama Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP) from 1986. There are quite a few examples of DPCP activities. One of them is that they have given a contract to Alabama Department of Public Health, Center for Health Statistics for developing a risk index or report card on the incidence of diabetes in a county wise manner. This will be used by DPCP to identify the high-risk counties in Alabama. Then they can make the maximum resources available to that area for the prevention of diabetes. For this purpose, they have decided to use the CDC Diabetes Today community-based coalition model. They have collaborated with Alabama Commission on ageing to conduct a diabetes study to find out whether a 2-year intervention project will improve lifestyle habits, blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipid levels among people who are above 60 and diabetics. The DPCP is also developing the language for the legislation on diabetes, which will give reimbursement for third-party expenses for all diabetics in Alabama. This was to be introduced in the 1999 legislative session. They have integrated standards of care, assisted and managed care systems, and county health department clinics within the comprehensive program sites for diabetes. The CDC Diabetes Today model is used by DPCP within select communities. (State-Based Diabetes Prevention & Control Programs: Alabama)

There is a feeling that all Americans must have reach to the best type of health care, through universal health care, or in some other way. This is an issue that affects all Americans,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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