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Addressing Health Disparities in Community Settings (A Funding Guide)

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Across a range of health conditions, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and other ethnic and racial minorities are at greater risk than are whites for a host of diseases and for premature disability and death. Many publicly and privately financed programs have been initiated to improve access for minorities to educational, screening, and clinical services. One particularly popular, but little documented, strategy is the creation of community-based disparities reduction initiatives. This study work was driven by three major objectives: (1) To review and describe existing community programs designed to address health outcome disparities for specific conditions in minority Americans; (2) To identify "best practices" in the conceptualization, development, and implementation of such programs; and (3) To analyze the potential of these programs to have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality, given the current contexts of national, state and local health care. The investigators concentrated initially on the six health priority areas identified in recent federal disparity reduction efforts. Since the scope of this study did not allow for a meaningful analysis of programs in all six areas, at the request of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation the focus was narrowed to initiatives designed to address disparities in diabetes, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Given the limited time frame of nine months, the study was exploratory in nature, and not exhaustive in scope.