MINORITY HEALTH: Satcher Addresses RI Conference
Surgeon General David Satcher yesterday addressed the New England Regional Minority Health Conference, which aimed to identify obstacles to minority health and strategies for improving care. The conference, "Eliminating Health Disparities by 2010," covered reproductive health, minority research and cultural sensitivity (Davis, Providence Journal-Bulletin, 4/12). "We are dead serious when we say we plan to eliminate disparities in health by the year 2010," Satcher said. Noting that good health is a "community responsibility," Satcher made four general health recommendations: exercise five times a week; eat enough fruits and vegetables; don't use drugs; and engage in "responsible sexual behavior; abstain when appropriate" (Rau, Providence Journal-Bulletin, 4/13). Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, associate chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island and a professor of medicine at Brown University Medical School, highlighted racial health disparities last week at a similar conference at Brown University. Rodriguez concluded that blacks' lower use of preventive care contributes to stark health statistics, and called on the health care community to conduct more culturally sensitive outreach campaigns (Davis, Providence Journal-Bulletin, 4/12).
To combat higher rates of heart disease and diabetes among blacks in Nashville, officials from the Metro Health Department, Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University and Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center are collaborating to encourage blacks to adopt healthier habits. The group is applying for up to $1.3 million for a planning and implementation grant from the CDC's Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Demonstration Project to help blacks manage risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, exercise and high cholesterol. "Whether we get the grant or not, we are going forward with this," said Dr. Anthony Chapdelaine, chief medical doctor for the Health Department (Ballard, Nashville Tennessean, 4/12).
IllinoisThough Chicago's death rate is at its lowest since 1980, an analysis of the city's Department of Health data shows that the gap between blacks and whites has grown significantly. The mortality rate for whites fell from 681 per 100,000 people in 1980 to 468 per 100,000 in 1997, but for blacks, the mortality rate has only fallen from 884 per 100,000 to 858 per 100,000. Black men had the highest mortality rate over the 18-year period, with an average of 1,100 deaths per 100,000 people. The death rate for black women is double that of white women and the mortality rate for Latinos is on the rise. Residents from the predominantly white Northwest Side of Chicago have an average life expectancy of 75 to 80 years, while those in the mostly black South Side have a life expectancy of just 60 years. "It is clear that health status disparities are greatest where socioeconomic inequalities are greatest. We're not just talking about income. In our country, it's class and race," said Dr. Linda Rae Murray of Woodlawn Adult Health Center (Forte, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.