Despite Congressional mandates aimed at diversifying clinical research, little has changed in the last 30 years in both the numbers of studies that include minorities and the diversity of scientists being funded, according to a new analysis by researchers at UC San Francisco.
That lack of diversity could have a serious impact on our ability to care for the nearly 40 percent of the current U.S. population whose heritage includes non-European races, the authors said, and will increase in urgency as the proportion of minority residents exceeds 50 percent in 2044.
The commentary, which was published Dec. 15, 2015, in the Policy Forum of online scientific journal PLoS Medicine, compiled 30 years of raw data on funding for research by non-White scientists, as well as two decades of analyses from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and others regarding the percentage of clinical studies that include racial and ethnic minorities.
They found that since the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act, which required all federally funded clinical research to prioritize the inclusion of women and minorities, less than 2 percent of the 10,000-plus cancer studies have included enough minorities to be relevant, and less than 5 percent of respiratory studies have.
Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero
By Anna Gorman
A report on aging in Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest county and one of its most diverse, shows wide disparities in life expectancy among different ethnic groups and neighborhoods.
Overall, the life expectancy for Los Angeles County residents was about 82 years in 2011, up from nearly 76 in 1991, according to the report by University of Southern California’s Roybal Institute on Aging. Much of that can be attributed to drops in coronary heart disease, strokes and lung cancer, the report noted.
But African Americans can expect to live to an average of about 76 years whereas the average for Asians and Pacific Islanders approaches 86 years, the report said.
And residents who have reached the age of 50 in the more affluent western part of the county are expected to live about five years longer than those in largely poor South Los Angeles.
Similarly, researchers found stark differences among ethnic groups when it comes to chronic disease. Latinos in L.A. County aged 50 or older have nearly double the rate of diabetes as whites, and older African Americans have a much higher rate of hypertension than other ethnic groups. Continue reading
New statistics also show rising prevalence of diabetes among all groups
From the National Institutes of Health
More than half of Asian Americans and nearly half of Hispanic Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their results were published Sept. 8 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association
Additionally, prevalence of diabetes for all American adults went up, from nearly 10 percent to over 12 percent between 1988 and 2012.
Diabetes prevalence – how common the condition is – also went up in every age, sex, level of education, income and racial/ethnic subgroup. Continue reading
“My time is coming. It’s already time for me to die. I can’t wait. … So yeah I plan to kill myself during spring break, which by the way, starts in two days.” — Wynne Lee wrote in a March 29, 2012 journal post
Wynne Lee’s mind was at war with itself – one voice telling her to kill herself and another telling her to live. She had just turned 14.
She tried to push the thoughts away by playing video games and listening to music. Nothing worked. Then she started cutting herself. She’d pull out a razor, make a small incision on her ankle or forearm and watch the blood seep out. “Cutting was a sharp, instant relief,” she said
When it comes to mental health treatment, Asian Americans often get short shrift. Researchers say they are both less well-studied and less likely to seek treatment.
At first, Wynne thought she felt sad because she was having a hard 8th grade year. She and her boyfriend broke up. Girls were spreading rumors about her. A few childhood friends abandoned her. But months passed and the feelings of helplessness and loneliness wouldn’t go away.
“I was really happy as a kid and now I was feeling like this,” she said. “It was really unfamiliar and scary.”
Wynne Lee didn’t know where her despair was coming from. The words “depression” and “suicide” were not in her vocabulary. She knew, however, that she was failing — she was defying expectations of who she was supposed to be. Continue reading
By Eyob Mazengia, PhD, RS, Food Protection Program
Public Health – Seattle & King County
When I started as a food inspector, I was assigned to the International District. And I liked it. It was almost like walking into a new culture, a new era.
What fascinated me was that as a public health worker, I had permission to walk into people’s personal spaces. I liked the smells, the sounds of their languages, their wall hangings and the way things looked.
It was a privilege, really, to be allowed into their personal spaces. Going on food inspections in the I.D., it was like walking into 3-4 different countries every day, without traveling outside the neighborhood.
Over the years, I established good relationships with the restaurant establishments. They were no longer just restaurant operators—they were mothers, fathers, grown kids. They’re not just businesses—there’s a family behind every door, people who had often gone through difficult times to be here.
And as I got to know them, I could recognize the sacrifices they made to give their children better opportunities in the U.S., and what they left behind. Even those born and raised here, you could recognize the sacrifices they were making. Continue reading
International Community Health Services (ICHS) been cited by the federal government as a “National Quality Leader” for exceeding national clinical benchmarks for chronic disease management, preventive care, and perinatal/prenatal services.
The Seattle-based health center also was recognized for achieving some of the best overall clinical outcomes nationally for health centers and for showing significant improvement in clinical quality measures between 2012 and 2013.
ICHS is a non-profit community health center that specializes in providing affordable health care services to Seattle and King County’s Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and other underserved communities.
It operates medical and dental centers in Seattle’s International District and Holly Park neighborhoods, as well as in the cities of Bellevue and Shoreline; a school-based health center at the Seattle World School, and a primary care clinic at ACRS, a social and mental health services agency in Seattle.
In recognition of its accomplishment and to fund further quality improvement, ICHS will receive $84,169 in Affordable Care Act funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Efforts to enroll Asian Americans in the health law’s marketplace plans have generally been touted as a success, but because coverage details are provided primarily in English or Spanish, those who depend on their native languages have encountered roadblocks as they try to use this new insurance.
The issue of language access gained attention last summer when the Obama administration notified thousands of people that their health insurance subsidies were at risk unless they updated their citizenship documentation because information on their initial applications could not be verified.
Advocates said many of those in jeopardy did not speak English well and did not understand the paperwork they received.
If people who face English language challenges don’t understand their coverage, maneuvering the health care system could prove unwieldy.
Asian Americans, with limited English who enrolled in plans with the help of bilingual navigators and in-person assisters, are now trying to understand a slew of documents – things like explanations of benefits packages or notifications about paperwork deadlines – that often are not translated. Continue reading
By Milly Dawson
Health Behavior News Service
Nationality at birth appears to play a significant role in whether or not adults in the United States are routinely vaccinated for preventable diseases, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds, reflecting a risky medical lapse for more than one in ten people nationwide.
Foreign-born adult U.S. residents, who make up about 13 percent of the population, receive vaccinations at significantly lower rates than U.S.-born adults.
Foreign-born adult U.S. residents make up about 13 percent of the population.
The study’s lead author, Peng-Jun Lu, MD, PhD, a researcher at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, noted the rise in the foreign-born population in the United States, which stood at only five percent in 1970.
“As their numbers continue to rise, it will become increasingly important to consider this group in our efforts to increase vaccination and eliminate coverage disparities,” he said. Continue reading
By Shefali Luthra
KHN / September 24
Language and cultural issues, along with immigration concerns, could still pose major barriers to enrolling Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in health insurance plans this fall, according to a report released Wednesday by Action for Health Justice, an advocacy coalition that aims to educate these populations about the health law.
If those issues are not addressed by this year’s open enrollment – which begins Nov. 15 – they will likely continue to be a roadblock to expanding coverage, according to the report. Continue reading
As soon as Deb Emerson, a former high school teacher from Oroville, Calif., bought a health plan in January through the state’s insurance exchange, she felt overwhelmed.
She couldn’t figure out what was covered and what wasn’t.
Why weren’t her anti-depressant medications included?
Why did she have to pay $60 to see a doctor?
The insurance jargon – deductible, co-pay, premium, co-insurance – was like a foreign language. What did it mean?
“I have an education and I am not understanding this,” said Emerson, 50. “ I wonder about people who don’t have an education — how baffling this must be for them.” Continue reading
From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Hepatitis A: Outbreaks in the US do occur.
- Hepatitis B: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have higher rates.
- Hepatitis C: New treatments can cure the disease.
Viral hepatitis is a major global health threat and affects over 4.4 million Americans. In observance of May as Hepatitis Awareness Month, here are brief overviews of each of the three most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis A: Outbreaks in the US can and do occur
By Stephanie Stephens
Health Behavior News
While past research has shown that, as a whole, Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders living in the U.S. smoke at a lower rate than the national average, a new study in American Journal of Health Behaviorfinds significant differences in tobacco use when analyzed by specific Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity.
Dramatic social, demographic and behavioral differences exist between Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI) groups, said lead study author Arnab Mukherjea, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., who was a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education at the University of California, San Francisco at the time of the study. Continue reading
By Michael Ollove
Stateline Staff Writer
African-Americans are more likely to suffer heart disease and diabetes than whites. The cancer death rate for men is a good deal higher than it is for women.
American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely to smoke tobacco than Hispanics, blacks or whites.
And Native Hawaiian adults are less likely to exercise than other ethnic groups.
These differences are called “health disparities,” and in the last two decades, the federal government and the states have focused on eliminating them. Continue reading
By Anna Gorman
FEB 18, 2014
In a push to cover immigrants excluded from the nation’s health reform law, a California state senator has proposed legislation that would offer health insurance for all Californians, including those living here illegally. Continue reading