A recent study that appears in the the November issue of the journal Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery indicates that Hispanic and Black children who experience frequent ear infections are less likely to have access to health care than White children. Living below the poverty level, lack of insurance, and lack of access to specialty care are all related factors that create a health disparity for families who cannot afford timely clinical care or prescriptions and who may have to rely on the hospital emergency department. Article co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro from UCLA stated, “Clearly, we found that children of certain ethnicities who suffer from frequent ear infections are more likely to face greater barriers to care. This information provides an opportunity for improvements in our current healthcare reform.”
Health disparities for minority children with frequent ear infections
Health Professionals Called to Volunteer in Haiti
Partners in Health, co- founded by Paul Farmer, is an organization dedicated to bringing quality health care to poor citizens of the world. They have responded to the crisis in Haiti, gathering information about ground conditions and responding to the area’s most pressing medical and health needs. They are seeking surgeons, nurses, and medical personnel to volunteer in the relief effort. If you are a health professional that would like to contribute, please send an email to email@example.com with information on your credentials, language capabilities (Haitian Creole or French desired), availability, and contact information. For updated information on the Partners in Health relief effort in Haiti, please visit their website.
Healthier Version of Traditional Foods Important to Better Health
Eating healthy is a key component in reducing the risk of developing diabetes, and the National Diabetes Education Program has developed “Mas que comida, es vida” (It’s more than food, it’s life), a program designed to create healthier versions of traditional Hispanic recipes.
According to Betsy Rodriguez, public health advisor of the National Diabetes Education Program’s Hispanic/Latino Work Group, “Meal preparation is a critical component of diabetes control. Studies show that overweight or obese individuals can prevent or delay diabetes by losing just 5 percent to 7 percent of their total body weight”.
The program provides materials written both in English and Spanish, including a recipe booklet designed specifically for Hispanics. The recipe booklet can be ordered from the National Diabetes Education Program website.
Healthy Habits and Family Ties Lead to Longer Lives for Hispanics
There has been much interest in the recent CDC report that concludes Hispanic life expectancy is longer and that Hispanics have lower rates of disease, including cancer, stroke and heart disease. According to Kyriakos Markides, a professor of aging at the UT Medical Branch at Galveston, “There is now doubt immigrants are driving this”. With nearly 40 percent of U.S. Latinos born outside the United States, those who have emigrated to the United States tend to eat more wholesome foods, live in tight-knit communities, as well as have jobs that demand more physical activity, which in turn all contributes to better overall health and longer lives.
Healthy People 2020
The US Department of Health and Human Services has launched Healthy People 2020, a document representing the federal government’s public health agenda for the coming decade. A “What’s New for 2020” page summarizes major developments relative to Healthy People 2010. Among them is a focus on addressing health disparities from a perspective that includes social determinants of health.
HHS Launches Action Plan to Reduce Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities
From the announcement: “Goals of the HHS Action Plan include transforming health care and expanding access, building on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act related to expanded insurance coverage and increased access to care. The plan also calls for more opportunities to increase the number of students from populations underrepresented in the health professions, train more people in medical interpretation to help serve patients with a limited command of English, and train community workers to help people navigate the system.”
Hidalgo County to be Part of National Children’s Study
Approximately 1,000 children from Hidalgo County will be taking part in a study, sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, along with several other federal agencies. Women who are pregnant, or going to become pregnant will be chosen for the study, which will examine social and environmental factors (such as diet, pollutants, and poverty) on the children’s health and development. The children will be followed from their time in the womb until their 21st birthday.
“The goal of the study is to get a handle on all aspects of pregnancy and childhood….that includes biological, phyiscal, chemical and social factors.” according to Dr. Daniel Hale, an investigator with the study and pediatrics professor at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Hispanic Americans and Health Bibliography, 2007
The 2007 issue of the “Hispanic Americans and Health” bibliography series is now available and includes references to over 1000 articles culled from searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL (nursing and allied health) and PsycINFO. The bibliography includes articles added to the databases from approximately August 2006 through July 2007. The “Hispanic Americans and Health” series has been published by the UTHSCSA Libraries since 1979. The bibliography is available at http://www.library.uthscsa.edu/basics/hisbib.cfm. Older bibliographies in the series are available through this link as well.
Hispanic Heart Health discussed at the AHA Scientific Sessions
A recent study indicates that significant percentages of Hispanics have borderline high or high total cholesterol, low levels of good cholesterol, and borderline high or high levels of triglycerides. The study, which was based on the results of the 2007 Summer Heart Health Campaign survey and screening of almost 3,000 Hispanics in four cities (Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; and New York/New Jersey metro area), was released at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. The recent survey and screening effort is part of the Alliance’s Para un corazón saludable (translation: For a healthy heart) campaign. The campaign, led by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (http://www.hispanichealth.org/), and sponsored by an educational grant from AstraZeneca was launched to improve awareness and understanding of heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, in Hispanic communities. Leading Hispanic cardiologists will convene for the inaugural Hispanic Cardiologist Leadership Network meeting at the AHA 2007 Scientific Sessions to discuss these and other issues critical to the improvement of heart health among Hispanics.
Hispanic seniors less likely to receive necessary immunizations
Although elderly individuals have a high risk of complications from flu or pneumonia, a study recently reported in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that significant racial and ethic disparities exist for immunizations. Hispanic seniors are less likely to be immunized than non-Hispanic White seniors, with an especially striking difference for pneumococcal immunizations. The authors suggest several factors for these disparities:
- language preference is an important factor for immunization, with considerably larger disparities for Spanish-preferring than English-preferring Hispanic seniors
- geographic factors that determine whether Spanish-preferring seniors live in large Hispanic communities or in linguistically-isolated “new communities”
- type of available Medicare or managed care plan with respect to uniform preventive care
In terms of increasing immunization among Hispanic seniors, the article states that the findings “have important implications for increasing immunization among Hispanic seniors, suggesting that further efforts are needed to improve cultural and linguistic access to care. In particular, geographic targeting of the subgroups at greatest risk, in combination with surname lists and health literacy mapping, may help optimize outreach and targeting of vaccine resources.”
Haviland AM, Elliott MN, Hambarsoomian K, Lurie N. Immunization disparities by Hispanic ethnicity and language preference. Arch Intern Med. 2011, Jan. 24; 171(2): 158-65.