United States is the most technologically advanced country in the world, spending more resources on health care than any other nation, yet not all citizens have equal access to quality health care. The nation's overall health has improved significantly in the past 20 years, but many ethnic minority groups, including African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Latinos face rates of disease, premature death and disability that are far higher than their fellow, white, non-Latino Americans. On average, racial and ethnic minorities are in poorer health, suffer worse health outcomes, and have higher morbidity and mortality rates than their white cohorts. Such health disparities often mean the loss of productivity, a decreased quality of life and a shorter life expectancy. It is in response to these inequities that the UC Davis Health System established the Center for Reducing Health Disparities.
Improving health-care access and quality for all
- The UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities takes a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to the inequities in health access and quality of care. This includes a comprehensive program for research, education and teaching, and community outreach and information dissemination.
- The center builds on UC Davis’ long history of reaching out to the most vulnerable, underserved populations in the region. A comprehensive medical interpretive services program helps overcome limitations in access for those who don’t speak English. Its regional telehealth network provides a high tech link between UC Davis physicians and smaller clinics around the state that cannot afford to maintain medical specialists on staff.
- The center represents a major commitment to addressing community needs that goes well beyond the traditional service role of an academic medical center. It is a program designed not only to raise awareness and conduct critical research, but also intended to actually assist those communities whose needs have never been addressed and met by the traditional health-care system.
- The center’s wide-ranging focus on health disparities includes an emphasis on improving access, detection and treatment of mental health problems within the primary care setting. It will also focus efforts on achieving better understanding into the co-morbidity of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS with depression.