Report on Health Disparities in Racial and Ethnic Groups To Be Presented August 16 in Helena

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The results of an Arkansas study that shows health differences between minority and ethnic groups and whites will be presented from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday, August 16, at the Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas in Helena. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The one-and-a-half year, $200,000 study – labeled the Arkansas Racial and Ethnic Health Disparity Study Report – was funded by the Arkansas Minority Health Commission and led by Creshelle R. Nash, M.D., M.P.H., and Eduardo R. Ochoa Jr., M.D., faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Nash is an assistant professor in health policy and management and assistant dean for professional relations for the UAMS College of Public Health. Ochoa is an assistant professor of maternal and child health and assistant dean for minority affairs in the College of Public Health and an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine.

Information for the study was gathered by data analysis and by studying 15 focus groups of residents in minority and non-minority communities in Helena and West Helena. Nash said the study includes information that may help explain why blacks and other minorities are less healthy than whites.

“The major findings of the study suggest that there are large racial and ethnic disparities in Arkansas with respect to death rates and disease burden for most disease states examined,” Nash said. “The socioeconomic status of minorities places them at increased risk for poor health. The data shows minorities have lower incomes, are more likely to be unemployed and uninsured, have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live in poverty.”

Nash said that although poverty, lack of health insurance and mistrust of the health care system are barriers that all Arkansans face, minority communities are more heavily impacted by these and other barriers, such as speaking a language other than English and experiencing a disconnection with health care providers.

“Dr. Ochoa and I are both committed to improving the health of our patients and minority communities in the state of Arkansas, and we saw this study as an opportunity to address the complex fundamental causes of racial and ethnic health disparities,” she said.

Sponsors for the presentation are the UAMS College of Public Health, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Southern Development Bancorporation, the UAMS Delta Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and the Phillips County Hometown Health Improvement Coalition.

The presentation will be held in the Community Room of the Fine Arts Center on the Phillips Community College campus on Campus Drive. For more information, call (501) 526-6601.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center and a statewide network of regional centers. The school has about 2,170 students and 650 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of about $3.8 billion a year.

UAMS Medical Center includes the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.