Initiatives by organized medicine to reduce health disparities lacking, study says

A researcher says an organization’s leadership plays a key role in ensuring that everyone receives equal care. By CAROLYNE KRUPA, Posted June 18, 2012.

Public and private entities nationwide are tackling the complex challenge of reducing health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities, but many national physician associations and societies have little or no programs to address them.

A study of 167 such organizations found that 32% have no programs that target health disparities, and 21% have just one activity. The study did not list the specific groups included in the research, but said that most organizations evaluated had 1,000 or more members. Those most likely to have disparities-related efforts include primary care and minority physician organizations and those that have formed committees to address the issue, says a study in the June issue ofAcademic Medicine.

“The data suggest that although physician organizations are well positioned to work toward the reduction of disparities, they could be doing much more,” American Medical Association Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, wrote in an accompanying commentary. Read more