December 2009 MedBytes: Minority Health

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Tex Med. 2009;105(12):64.  

Health care isn't one-size-fits-all. Each patient is different, and accommodating diverse patient populations that face health disparities and have unique medical needs is essential in today's medical landscape. The Web sites here contain resources effective in helping physicians understand cultural competency in medicine, break down health disparities among certain racial and ethnic groups, and address patient safety as a function of quality care for all.

Texas Medical Association
The  Patient Safety Resource Center  portion of the  TMA Web site houses information on health disparities that affect specific patient populations and cultural competency training in the medical field. Resources on health disparities include fact sheets, links to organizations that have researched the topic, literature on racial and ethnic disparities, and research findings specific to Texas. The  cultural competency portion  of the Web page houses cross-cultural training resources, cultural competency tools, implementation guides, clinical practice guidelines for Medicaid practitioners, and links to related organizations and relevant studies.

TMF Health Quality Institute
The TMF Health Quality Institute (TMF) is a private, nonprofit organization of licensed physicians founded in the early 1970s with the support of TMA and the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. The organization's  Web site contains cultural competency resources for physicians. TMF and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are offering physicians and their staff the opportunity to earn up to 9 free continuing medical or continuing nursing education credits. "A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care," developed by the Office of Minority Health, is available  online  and introduces staff to the cultural and linguistically appropriate services standards. The TMF Web site also features cultural competence fact sheets and links to valuable projects and reports.

Kaiser Family Foundation
Physicians in search of fact sheets, study findings, survey briefs, and other documentation related to minority health need look no further than the Kaiser Family Foundation  Web site . In addition to written reports, the Web site presents information via multimedia Webcasts, videos, and interactive tutorials. Tutorials feature topics of interest for practicing physicians and include health and the law, health systems, HIV/AIDS, Medicare, prescription drugs, the uninsured, and more. The Web site's resources are too numerous to list. You'll find information on topics from immigrants' health care coverage to the effects of an economic recession on communities of color. The site is organized so you can search by topic, report type, document type, or special features, making it easy to navigate.

Management Sciences for Health
Physicians can get help with providing high-quality, culturally competent health care to multiethnic populations. From the  Management Sciences for Health home page , click on  The Provider's Guide to Quality and Culture . When visiting the site, first click on the  Getting Started  link for cultural competency information and guidance on avoiding stereotypes. The  Patient Provider Interaction  link covers clinical exchanges, prior assumptions and prejudices, medical history and diagnosis, patient adherence, working with an interpreter, nonverbal communication, and relating to patients' families. Explore the site further by clicking on the  Health Disparities  and  Cultural Groups  links. In addition, the site is sprinkled with links to other Web sites containing useful information related to cultural competence and health care.

The Office of Minority Health
The  Office of Minority Health strives to spur the development of policies and programs that do away with health disparities and positively affect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations. The Web site contains an abundance of resources and tools physicians can use to accomplish the organization's mission.  Cultural competency resources  include links to organizations and programs; information about relevant policies, laws, national standards, and initiatives; and training tools for physicians.  Health care data and information  are available for African-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Hawaiians/other Pacific Islanders. If you take some time to browse the Web site, you'll discover campaigns and initiatives geared toward improving the health of minorities, community resources, public service announcements tailored to specific populations, and publications to aid physicians in treating specific racial and ethnic patient populations.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

 

 

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