Friday Afternoon Seminar Replacement Activity
Week of March 2nd
Accelerating Innovative Strategies to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Keynote Speaker: Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D.
HRSA Learning Institute
Originally Presented February 22nd, 2012 11:00 am – 1:00pm
Accessed: February 28th, 2012
Dr. Thomas spoke at HRSA as part of Black History Month. He gave a lecture on racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States, providing a quick background on the history of health disparities and then focused on opportunities to improve health outcomes in the African American community.
Some Interesting Points from the Lecture:
1. When addressing racial and ethnic health disparities, it is important for healthcare and public health officials to make the community – places where people eat, work, worship, etc – the focus of health improvement, rather than focusing on the clinical setting.
2. Disparities in the quality of healthcare are primarily a function of two main factors: a broken healthcare system/environmental factors and discrimination (biases, stereotyping, uncertainty)
3. Historical inequalities (Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Henrietta Lacks, etc) are now part of “pop culture” and these issues shape the attitudes and beliefs of the communities that need to be reached to address the healthcare disparities. Training programs should encourage healthcare professionals to be sensitive to the role this history plays in community beliefs about the healthcare system.
4. We need to encourage increased participation by racial and ethnic minority population in ethical clinical trials research so that the evidence base can be more informative about how interventions work in these communities
5. Innovative, sustainable and results-oriented approaches are key. Example: The HHS program “Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day” became “Take a Healthcare Professional to the People Day,” where healthcare professionals partnered with black barbershops (important in the community, place where cultural norms are shaped) to provide care and outreach to the community. This expanded into a program called H.A.I.R. – Health Advocates In Reach. This program continued to bring healthcare into the community through salons and barbershops and out of the traditional clinical setting. The program also helped barbers become certified as first responders.