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Addressing Health Disparities in Community Settings: An Analysis of Best Practices in Community-Based Approaches to Ending Disparities in Health Care

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Across a wide range of diseases, minorities stand at a greater risk than their white counterparts. The fact that racial disparities remain so persistent not only in disease incidence, but in disease progression and outcome, poses a serious challenge to policy-makers and professionals in the health care industry. One method of addressing this challenge is the community-based initiative. Little is known, however, about what factors can help the success of community-based initiatives. This report presents qualitative results from six case studies of U.S. community-based disparity initiatives. Researchers collected information through internet and literature searches, expert interviews, surveys and site visits. From this, the authors identified a set of "best practices" of community-based initiatives. These include excellence at mobilization and management of a network of services, one-to-one outreach and embracing multiple strategies to achieve cultural competence. The authors conclude with recommendations based on their findings and address the broader question of what kind of impact community-based initiatives can have in the fight against racial disparities.