Achieving Health Equity: An Incremental Journey

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Ibrahim, S.A. and Thomas, S.B. and Fine, M.J. (2003) Achieving Health Equity: An Incremental Journey. American Journal of Public Health, 93 (10). pp. 169-1621.


Racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care have been well documented in a broad range of medical conditions and health care services in numerous settings. These disparities are not trivial. For example, African Americans suffer shorter life expectancy and higher rates of cancer, stroke, heart disease, HIV and mental illness than do Whites. American Indians and Alaskan Natives also experienc shorter life expectancy than that of Whites. Puerto Ricans, a subset of Hispanic ethnicity, have a significantly higher infant mortality rate than do Whites. Racial and ethnic disparities also exist in the utilization of specialist care, preventive services, renal and bone marrow transplants, and orthopedic procedures such as knee and hip replacements. There are several reasons why identifying and understanding health disparities and marshaling the "political will" needed to eliminate them are essential for all Americans.