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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

9/15 Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Meeting

The Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities will next convene on Monday, September 15th, (1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor). Chaired by Senator Dianne Wilkerson and Representative Byron Rushing, the September meeting agenda will focus on the prioritization of recommendations developed by the former Special Legislative Commission on Health Disparities. The Council will also welcome a new member, Dr. Dr. Amaro Laria of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. See related blog posting. Camille Watson Health Disparities Coordinator Read more »

9/15 Disparities Council Meeting

The Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities will next convene on Monday, September 15th, (1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor). Chaired by Senator Dianne Wilkerson and Representative Byron Rushing, the September meeting agenda will focus on the prioritization of recommendations developed by the former Special Legislative Commission on Health Disparities. The Council will also welcome a new member, Dr. Dr. Amaro Laria of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Stay tuned to the HCFA Disparities Council webpage to track the Council developments. Read more »

Prioritizing Primary Care

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reinforces the impending primary care shortage facing the U.S. physician workforce. Based on a survey of 1177 fourth-year medical students at 11 US medical schools, the analysis showed that only 23% of respondents planned to practice internal medicine with just 2% planning to practice general internal medicine. Researchers found a number of factors that influenced student’s reluctance to go into the field, including the demands of caring for an aging and chronically ill population coupled with increased burden of... Read more »

A Call To Action For Domestic HIV/AIDS Investment

Nearly 25,000 experts, advocates, and impacted populations converged on Mexico City last week for the International AIDS Conference. The 17th meeting was as much political as scientific, with contentious issues around stigma, antiretroviral drug access, and research funding shaping the dialogue and debate. While the international meeting drew much needed attention to the epidemic raging in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, Black American leaders shed light on the U.S’s failure to address the epidemic within its very own borders. During a press conference, leaders from the Black AIDS... Read more »

Disparities Council Meets

The Health Disparities Council held its monthly meeting yesterday, reviewing recommendations of the Special Legislative Commission on Health Disparities, and developing a work group to develop priorities for the Council to implement. Materials from the meeting are available here. Dr. Alice Coombs (Massachusetts Medical Society) , Dr. Paul Mendis (Neighborhood Health Plan), Dr. Joseph Betancourt (Massachusetts General Hospital) and DPH Commissioner John Auerbach, presented on behalf of the original Commision’s working groups, addressing workforce diversity, health care access and quality, and... Read more »

AMA Apologizes for Past Racism

The largest professional association for American physicians, the American Medical Association (AMA), issued an apology today for a history of racial bias and exclusion against black physicians (news report here). Past practices of the AMA that were acknowledged in the apology included the exclusions of blacks from AMA membership, and the Association’s silence during Congressional decisions on federal funding for segregated hospitals and other civil rights issues. Read more »

Disparities Council To Meet July 21

The Council on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities will next convene on Monday, July 21st (1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor). Chaired by Senator Dianne Wilkerson and Representative Byron Rushing, the July meeting will begin a three-month process for the Council to establish priorities and develop long-term goals. Click on the links for the meeting agenda, proposed workplan, presentation and minutes from the last meeting. Read more »

Cambridge Study Highlights Gender Disparities

The Cambridge Public Health Department released a new report today, documenting the often-overlooked issue of gender-based health disparities. Both nationally and in Massachusetts, men have poorer health outcomes for heart disease, cancer, stroke, homicide and injury. Men of color fare not only worse than their white peers for these indicators, but worse than women of color as well. The key findings include: Read more »

Cultural Issues and Health Disparities Studied

What are the causes of racial and ethnic health disparities? Harvard Medical School researchers recently documented disparities in the outcomes of diabetes patients with the same physician. Despite the assumed equal treatment provided, blacks showed worse outcomes than their white counterparts for standard measures of diabetes control. The study looked at 6,800 patients being treated by at least one of 90 primary care physicians at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates sites in eastern Massachusetts. Read more »

Unnatural Causes -- the movie -- Premieres in Springfield and Holyoke

Unnatural Causes ... is inequality making us sick is a groundbreaking new documentary series exploring how the social conditions in which Americans are born, live and work profoundly affect health and longevity, even more than medical care, behaviors and genes. The film goes beyond popular conceptions linking health to medical care, lifestyles and genes to explore evidence of other more powerful determinants: the social conditions in which we are born, live and work. Watch clips, get the toolkit and discussion guide, and more, here. Please join us for the free Springfield/Holyoke local... Read more »

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