Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

October 06, 2011
4:00 p.m. EST

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962


Achieving Equity in Health


Bethesda, MD -- It's well known that racial and ethnic minorities, who represent about one-third of the US population, face disparities in both their health and in health care compared to white Americans. A new Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines the factors that contribute to these disparities and the progress that has been made in closing the gap. Policy recommendations are proposed for making further progress.


The brief also includes:

• Issue overview. Background on what's known about existing disparities in health and health care; the causes and sources; factors affecting a person's health status, such as economic determinants, education, geography and neighborhood, environment, and stress; and the role of poor-quality health care as it affects racial and ethnic minorities.

• Findings from articles published in the October 2011 issue of Health Affairs, "Agenda For Fighting Disparities." These include concerns that current trends in public policy could widen health disparities; an analysis of hospitals that shows high proportions of minorities treated at high-cost, low-quality institutions; and profiles of some promising efforts under way across the country, such as at the Indian Health Service, to narrow disparities in health and health care.

• Policy recommendations. Issues that need to be addressed in order to narrow disparities, ranging from improvements in the quality of care, to ways to empower minorities with tools to more successfully navigate the health care system.

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published weekly at You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter and download Narrative Matters on iTunes. Address inquiries to Sue Ducat at (301) 841-9962 or