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Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care: Using Federal Data to Support Local Programs to Eliminate Disparities

Authors

  • Thomas D. Sequist,

    1. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of General Medicine, 1620 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120
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    • Address correspondence to Thomas D. Sequist, M.D. M.P.H., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Division of General Medicine, 1620 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120. Dr. Sequist is also with the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Eric C. Schneider, M.D. M.Sc., is with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.

  • Eric C. Schneider

    1. Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
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Abstract

To reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care, managers, policy makers, and researchers need valid and reliable data on the race and ethnicity of individuals and populations. The federal government is one of the most important sources of such data. In this paper we review the strengths and weaknesses of federal data that pertain to racial and ethnic disparities in health care. We describe recent developments that are likely to influence how these data can be used in the future and discuss how local programs could make use of these data.

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