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Modest Improvements in Awareness of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities over a Decade

Despite persistent racial and ethnic gaps in health care and health status, awareness of such disparities remains low among the general public.

Much work remains to be done to better inform the U.S. population of health conditions that disproportionately impact specific racial and ethnic minority groups, according to an OMH survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Specifically, the Nation's awareness of racial and ethnic disparities increased from 54.5 percent in 1999 to 59 percent in 2010 - a statistically significant, but modest, increase of 4 percentage points. Increases in awareness among Americans of health care access disparities like health insurance status were similarly modest - under 10 percentage points.

These and other findings were released Oct. 6 in an article authored by Jennifer K. Benz and Oscar J. Espinosa of NORC, Valerie A. Welsh of OMH, and Angela Fontes of Illinois State University, in the October issue of Health Affairs -- a thematic issue of the journal, Agenda for Fighting Disparities, which examines the state of health and health care disparities in the nation and steps that show promise in closing the gaps.

The article about the OMH/NORC survey and its web supplements (General Population Questionnaire; Creating an Awareness Index) are available on the Health Affairs website at http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/10/1860.abstract Exit Disclaimer.

In addition, copies of the Study Brief and 2010 General Population Toplines are provided at the links below:

Study Brief [PDF | 112KB]
2010 General Population [PDF | 257KB]
2009 General Population [PDF | 254KB]

3/6/2012 12:32:00 PM