Few Providers Respond to Survey Designed To Examine Health Issues Facing Blacks in San Bernardino County
Fewer than 3% of health care providers in San Bernardino County responded to a recent survey about black people's health, according to the survey coordinator, the San Bernardino County Sun reports.
The project, which was funded by the California Endowment, was designed to address health disparities between blacks and other ethnic groups with regard to heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS and breast and prostate cancer. Officials released the survey by the African American Health Initiative -- "Voices of the People: An Afrocentric Plan for Better Health -- at a news conference Thursday.
For the project, researchers sent surveys to about 900 physicians, HMOs, faith-based organizations, hospitals, professional organizations and independent health care providers, asking about health issues facing blacks. Only 25 responses were returned, 11 of which did not contain adequate information to be used in the research.
The project also performed residential surveys and held focus groups and public forums to assess blacks' views of the health care system, according to Carl Dameron, chair of the AAHI Strategic Planning Group.
Responses collected from more than 800 people showed that most blacks do not incorporate healthy practices into their lifestyles. In addition, the survey showed a "disconnect" between health care providers and black patients and that blacks are distrustful of the health care system, according to the Sun. In addition, the survey found that blacks are not aware of prevention programs and that health-related materials are not targeted toward black culture.
However, according to V. Diane Woods, planning coordinator for AAHI, the responses also showed that the majority of respondents had some type of private health insurance and most said they visited their doctor regularly and asked health-related questions.
The project made several recommendations based on the survey findings, including encouraging blacks to become more involved in their health care decisions; encouraging local health care providers to address the health care needs of blacks; developing effective and accountable public collaboration with blacks; and creating a public plan to address the health status of blacks.
The project also recommended developing a plan to help advocate for issues targeting blacks; encouraging healthier lifestyles and more culturally-specific research; improving economic conditions within the black community to improve access to health care; and providing reliable information and resources on natural remedies and complementary medicines (Wells, San Bernardino County Sun, 12/2).