Eliminating racial ethnic disparities requires medical translators


14 July, 2009


 Low-income Americans and members of racial and ethnic minority groups continue to experience disproportionately higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options and reduced access to care, according to a report released June 9 by the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

According to the report, 48% of African-American adults have a chronic disease compared with 39% of the general population. Eight percent of white Americans develop diabetes, while 15% of African-Americans and 14% of Hispanics develop the disease. Hispanics were a third less likely than whites to receive counseling on obesity, and African-Americans were 15% more likely to be obese than whites.

…Health officials said the findings show the need for action to eliminate health care disparities. Members of the Congressional TriCaucus, formed by the Black, Hispanic and Asian-Pacific congressional caucuses, introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2009 on June 9 outlining the groups’ priorities for health reform. Key among them is the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities. They recommend addressing cultural concerns such as credentialing for medical translators and ensuring adequate reimbursement for language and translation services.


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