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Public impeachment hearings in Washington; dreamers protest in Texas; roadless wilderness areas possibly at risk around the country; and an ozone indicating garden, at the North Carolina Governor's Mansion.

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Still Disparities in Health Care for People of Color in MA

April 8, 2009

Boston, MA – Health care is not created equal, especially for minorities and other people of color: That's the message for National Minority Health Month. Despite the state's Health Reform Law of three years ago, Massachusetts residents of color still face higher rates of disease and poorer health outcomes, and live shorter lives, according to the Disparities Action Network (DAN), which is working to advance policies that address health care inequalities.

Much progress has been made in Massachusetts, but there is more to the story, says Elmer Freeman, executive director at the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service and DAN co-chair.

"We're really trying to make sure that people recognize that it's not a matter of access or insurance coverage, it's really about how you get treated in the system overall."

Dr. Michele David, DAN co-chair and professor of medicine and director of Community Health Programs at Boston University's National Center for Excellence in Women's Health, says that there are still many hurdles facing minorities regarding access.

"There might be some unconscious bias among some health care providers as one of the reasons, and social determinants of health is also a bigger part of the picture."

The coalition's focus is two-fold: to make permanent a statewide Office of Health Equity that works both within and outside the health care system to create strategies for reduction of disparities; and to support community agencies to run programs shown to make a difference in addressing health care barriers.

For more on the Disparities Action Network visit hcfama.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA