Trend: States look for social roots of ethnic health disparities

Of late, states have begun to take a new approach to looking at health status differences between whites and minorities, concerned by data suggesting that minorities face dramatically higher rates of, for example, diabetes and infant mortality.

Rather than relying solely on medical data, they've begun to focus on the socio-economic roots of ethnic health disparities, including problems with transportation problems, poverty and discrimination. State health departments are revamping to look at the effects of everything from the impact of institutional racism and sexism to the prevalence of tobacco advertising.

In Minnesota, for example, health officials have been looking for several years at why infant mortality rates among Native Americans were three times as high as whites in the states. After studying the situation, they worked with community members to look at root causes of such health disparities. The officials then rolled out solutions which community groups thought would work.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Associated Press piece

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