Attempts to address widespread and persistent health disparities between African Americans and whites has led to advocacy for increasing the number of African American physicians in the healthcare workforce. A recent article in Health Services Research proposes that this will improve health outcomes in African American communities and among the disadvantaged and poor.
The study found that African-Americans, specifically those of lower education, lower income, less insurance, poorer health and those who live in rural areas, are being treated in increasing numbers by international medical school graduates. ?The percentage of African American physicians in the United States has remained constant over the last thirty years at 3.9 percent, while the percentage of international medical school graduates providing medical care in the United States has increased dramatically over this same time-period,? says Daniel L. Howard, Ph.D., lead author of the article. A sizable proportion of African Americans are seen by African American physicians. Therefore, as these physicians retire, they are being replaced by foreign-trained physicians who are predominately from different cultures.
Research literature shows that African American physicians have been more available to African American communities based on historical patterns of geographic distribution and service provision, thus increasing access and improving outcomes. These physicians are also better in understanding the cultural and social contexts of illness and treatment preferences in the African American community.
The study proposes a re-examination of healthcare workforce policy that is inclusive of African Americans as well as incorporating cultural competency training into the education of all health professionals.
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Sub-editorHealthcare :: Increase in african american doctors may benefit communities
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on January 6th, 2007 at 5:11 am.
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