The Monday Memo
January 19, 2015 PITT DPT STUDENTS
“Disparities in Health Care”
Monday the 19th, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his courageous pursuit for equality for all men and women so that everyone might have the same rights, liberties, and freedoms to pursue their own happiness. In the decades since his push for equality, the country has become a different place than what it was in the 1960’s; and yet widespread disparities still exist across the United States. These disparities remain a constant across our field of health care.
“Health disparities are gaps in heath and health determinants between segments of the population. For example, differences in disease rates, receipt of preventative care or risk behaviors are all examples of disparities”, Centers for Disease Control, 2013.
There is extensive evidence that disparities exist across the gamut of health care services, and are dependent on a person’s sex, disability, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and even geographical location. For instance, maternal deaths per 100,000 childbirths in 2012 was 39.2 in African Americans compared to 11.7 in Caucasians. However, education also correlated with disparities in maternal deaths. In women that received less than a high school education, 22.1 deaths occurred whereas only 11.3 occurred in those women with at least some college education.
Disparities also exist within the realm of physical therapy, some of which were identified in the APTA’s 2005 report Racial and Ethnic Disparities In Health Care. The report also identified areas in need of research to better ascertain the causes of and, eventually, possible solutions to these gaps in our areas of practice. Current research in this area is being performed by the University of Pittsburgh’s own Allyn Bove, DPT on the correlation of ethnicity to orthopedic procedures.
Disparities in health care still persist in our society today; many more than what have been mentioned here. Dr. King once dreamt of equality amongst all people, and much has been accomplished in striving towards this dream. But chasms still exist in health care outcomes that fall along socioeconomic, ethnic, and geographical lines. We must work towards closing those gaps, and bringing excellent health care to all people.
For more information, please follow the links provided at the bottom of the post.
SPOTLIGHT: Congratulations to Carlos Darby and Andrew Clark on their winter break weddings, and John Schneider on the announcement of his baby boy!
Health Care Disparities, APTA.org: http://www.apta.org/HealthCareDisparities/
Research in Minority Health Disparities, PTinMotion, 2006: http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/2006/5/Feature/ResearchinMinorityHealthDisparities/
2012 National Healthcare Disparities Report, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/nhdr12/
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