Center For Health Disparities Research

Key Areas of Research

Key Areas of Research

The Center will focus on three main areas of research including: 1) primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of chronic diseases in diverse populations; 2) interventions at the patient, provider, and health systems levels to reduce or eliminate racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic differences in quality of care and health outcomes; and 3) novel interventions to improve health care delivery and health outcomes for rural dwelling residents.

Health Disparities: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on unequal treatment has documented that “racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare exist [1]. The likely sources of the aforementioned disparities have been attributed to the following [7]: (1) lack of adequate medical knowledge and information sources, (2) lack of trust and skepticism, (3) racial/cultural factors, (4) poor patient participation in healthcare decision-making, (5) clinician judgment, (6) lack of social support and resources, and (7) healthcare facility characteristics. To address existing racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and rural/urban disparities in health outcomes we will develop and test interventions at the patient, provider, and health systems levels to reduce or eliminate racial/ethnic, rural/urban, and socioeconomic differences in quality of care and health outcomes for people with chronic diseases.

Rural Health: Determinants of health and disease differ among individuals residing in rural communities compared to urban communities including: poverty, isolation, limited access to medical services, and greater prevalence of obesity [8]. The delivery of health care in rural areas is also influenced by the unique characteristics of rural communities such as population density, the remoteness of these communities, the characteristics of the local workforce, and the cultural norms associated with the region at large [8].  The combination of these unique factors translates into rural-urban differences in health, disease, and disease-related outcomes. To address existing rural/urban disparities in access and health outcomes, we will develop, test, and disseminate novel interventions to improve health care delivery and health outcomes for rural dwelling residents.

Disease Prevention: Despite on going national efforts to improve quality of care for people with chronic diseases, opportunities exist for refocused approaches to better organize healthcare.  One approach would involve an integrative or “tri-prevention” model of care that is organized around the natural history of most chronic diseases.  Prevention programs would consist of primary, secondary, and tertiary components rather than fragmented programs with goals designed to target one specific area. To improve the overall health of the population and reduce the burden of chronic diseases, we will conduct innovative research that targets primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of chronic diseases in diverse populations.

References

1.   Institute of Medicine. Unequal Treatment – Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Smedley BD et al. (Eds). National Academy Press, Washington, DC 2002.

2.   Census Bureau. (2008). State and County Quick Facts:  South Carolina. Retrieved March 27, 2008 from:  http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/45000.htm;.

3.   South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. (2006). The Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke in South Carolina: Division of Cardiovascular Health.  Retrieved March 27, 2008 from: http://www.scdhec.gov/cvh

4.   South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. (2002). South Carolina Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System.  Retrieved March 27, 2008 from:  http://www.scdhec.gov/hs/epidata/brfss2002.htm#diabet.

5.   Johnson, M. G., Hardy, W. R., Mosley, C. M., Andrews, V. C., & Bolick-Aldrich, S. W. (2005). South Carolina Cancer Facts and Figures 2004-2005.: South Carolina Cancer Registry, Office of Public Health Statistics and Information Services, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the American Cancer Society.

6.   Sung NS, Crowley WF, Jr., Genel M, et al. Central challenges facing the national clinical research enterprise. Jama. Mar 12 2003;289(10):1278-1287.

7.   S. Saha, M. Freeman, J. Toure, K. M. Tippens, and C. Weeks, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the VA Healthcare System:  A Systematic Review. 2007, Department of Veterans Affairs.  Veterans Health Administration.  Health Services Research & Development: Washington.

8.   J. Merchant, C. Coussens, and D. Gibert, Eds. Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment in Rural America. 2006, The National Academies Press: Washington, DC.

 
 
 

© 2014  Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer