Minority Health Archive

Health Disparities: The Importance of Culture and Health Communication

Thomas, Stephen B. and Fine, Michael J. and Ibrahim, Said A. (2004) Health Disparities: The Importance of Culture and Health Communication. American Journal of Public Health, 94 (12). p. 2050. ISSN 0090-0036

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The root causes of health disparities are numerous and relate to individual behaviors, provider knowledge and attitudes, organization of the health care system, and societal and cultural values. Disparities have been well documented,even in systems that provide unencumbered access to health care, such as the VA Healthcare System, suggesting that factors other than access to care (e.g., culture and health communication) are responsible. Efforts to eliminate health disparities must be informed by the influence of culture on the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of not only minority populations but also public health policymakers and the health professionals responsible for the delivery of medical services and public health interventions designed to close the health gap. There is credible evidence suggesting that cultural norms within Western societies contribute to lifestyles and behaviors associated with risk factors for chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes and cardiovascular disease). This is the context in which smoking cessation, increased physical activity, and dietary regulation are prime targets for intervention.

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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available at the publisher’s Web site. Access to the full text is subject to the publisher’s access restrictions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health, Communication, Disparities, Education, Culture, Public Health Interventions, health disparities
Subjects: Health > Health Equity > Access To Healthcare
Health > Disparities
Health > Policy
Health > Public Health
Practice > outreach
Practice > interventions
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Users 24 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2011
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2011 10:36
Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/336

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