Posted on Sep 08, 2018, 1 a.m.
California’s health profile is better than the nation as a whole, which is driven by the state’s minority population, as published in the journal Health Affairs.
Despite a 62% minority population with the characteristics of low education, high poverty rates, and lack of insurance which are all social determinants expected to lead to high mortality rates and negative health outcomes, California state profile is significantly better than that of the nation as a whole.
The death rate from all causes was 619.1 per 100,000 population compared with the nation at 720.9. When this is broken down by ethnic/racial group the death rates are 380.2 for American/Alaska Natives, 394.5 for Asian/Pacific Islanders, 514.4 for Latinos, 686.4 for non-Hispanic whites, and 807.6 for African-Americans. State population shifted from 22% ethnic/racial minority in the 70s to 62% in 2016.
Researchers and policymakers from the 1960s to early 1990s have focused on attention to high levels of unemployment, poverty, and lack of education among minorities positing these dysfunctions are results of poor values leading to poor choices resulting in narratives that minorities were likelier to have shorter lives suffering poorer health outcomes with subsequent health care and social policies being built around that framework.
Cultural differences in ways the groups interact and take action to compensate for lack of access to health care and other private and public services may help to facilitate better health outcomes. Actions such as in the 1970s to address unmet health care needs Latinos created an alternative system of health care and policy that has since grown to more than 1,300 nonprofit, community based clinics serving affected communities. Findings such as these can form the basis for development of theoretical models and methods to assist in identifying and tracking of health disparities; new updated models based on epidemiology of diversity would better be able to use roles that place, race, and diversity play on health outcomes.
Materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences.
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