(57/1465) Appendicectomies in Albanians in Greece: outcomes in a highly mobile immigrant patient population.

BACKGROUND: Albanian immigrants in Greece comprise a highly mobile population with unknown health care profile. We aimed to assess whether these immigrants were more or less likely to undergo laparotomy for suspected appendicitis with negative findings (negative appendicectomy), by performing a controlled study with individual (1:4) matching. We used data from 6 hospitals in the Greek prefecture of Epirus that is bordering Albania. RESULTS: Among a total of 2027 non-incidental appendicectomies for suspected appendicitis performed in 1994-1999, 30 patients with Albanian names were matched (for age, sex, time of operation and hospital) to 120 patients with Greek names. The odds for a negative appendicectomy were 3.4-fold higher (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-9.31, p = 0.02) in Albanian immigrants than in matched Greek-name subjects. The difference was most prominent in men (odds ratio 20.0, 95% CI, 1.41-285, p = 0.02) while it was not formally significant in women (odds ratio 1.56, 95% CI, 0.44-5.48). The odds for perforation were 1.25-fold higher in Albanian-name immigrants than in Greek-name patients (95% CI 0.44- 3.57). CONCLUSIONS: Albanian immigrants in Greece are at high risk for negative appendicectomies. Socioeconomic, cultural and language parameters underlying health care inequalities in highly mobile immigrant populations need better study.  (+info)

(58/1465) Racial and ethnic differences in parents' assessments of pediatric care in Medicaid managed care.

OBJECTIVE: This study examines whether parents' reports and ratings of pediatric health care vary by race/ethnicity and language in Medicaid managed care. DATA SOURCES: The data analyzed are from the National Consumer Assessment of Health Plans (CAHPS) Benchmarking Database 1.0 and consist of 9,540 children enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans in Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Washington state from 1997 to 1998. DATA COLLECTION: The data were collected by telephone and mail, and surveys were administered in Spanish and English. The mean response rate for all plans was 42.1 percent. STUDY DESIGN: Data were analyzed using multiple regression models. The dependent variables are CAHPS 1.0 ratings (personal doctor, specialist, health care, health plan) and reports of care (getting needed care, timeliness of care, provider communication, staff helpfulness, plan service). The independent variables are race/ethnicity (white, African American, American Indian, Asian, and Hispanic), Hispanic language (English or Spanish), and Asian language (English or other), controlling for gender, age, education, and health status. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Racial/ethnic minorities had worse reports of care than whites. Among Hispanics and Asians language barriers had a larger negative effect on reports of care than race/ethnicity. For example, while Asian non-English-speakers had lower scores than whites for staff helpfulness (beta = -20.10), timeliness of care (beta = -18.65), provider communication (beta = -17.19), plan service (beta = -10.95), and getting needed care (beta = -8.11), Asian English speakers did not differ significantly from whites on any of the reports of care. However, lower reports of care for racial/ethnic groups did not translate necessarily into lower ratings of care. CONCLUSIONS: Health plans need to pay increased attention to racial/ethnic differences in assessments of care. This study's finding that language barriers are largely responsible for racial/ethnic disparities in care suggests that linguistically appropriate health care services are needed to address these gaps.  (+info)

(59/1465) The effect of neighborhood-based community organizing: results from the Seattle Minority Youth Health Project.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a community mobilization and youth development strategy to prevent drug abuse, violence, and risky sexual activity. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Primary surveys of youth, parents, and key neighborhood leaders were carried out at baseline (1994) and at the end of the intervention period (1997). The study took place in four intervention and six control neighborhoods in Seattle. STUDY DESIGN: The study was designed as a randomized controlled trial with neighborhood as the unit of randomization. The intervention consisted of a paid community organizer in each neighborhood who recruited a group of residents to serve as a community action board. Key variables included perceptions of neighborhood mobilization by youth, parents, and key neighborhood leaders. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Youth surveys were self-administered during school hours. Parent and neighborhood leader surveys were conducted over the phone by trained interviewers. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Survey results showed that mobilization increased to the same degree in both intervention and control neighborhoods with no evidence of an overall intervention effect. There did appear to be a relative increase in mobilization in the neighborhood with the highest level of intervention activity. CONCLUSION: This randomized study failed to demonstrate a measurable effect for a community mobilization intervention. It is uncertain whether the negative finding was because of a lack of strength of the interventions or problems detecting intervention effects using individual-level closed-end surveys.  (+info)

(60/1465) Minority women and advocacy for women's health.

US minority health issues involve racial/ethnic disparities that affect both women and men. However, women's health advocacy in the United States does not consistently address problems specific to minority women. The underlying evolution and political strength of the women's health and minority health movements differ profoundly. Women of color comprise only one quarter of women's health movement constituents and are, on average, socioeconomically disadvantaged. Potential alliances may be inhibited by vestiges of historical racial and social divisions that detract from feelings of commonality and mutual support. Nevertheless, insufficient attention to minority women's issues undermines the legitimacy of the women's health movement and may prevent important advances that can be achieved only when diversity is fully considered.  (+info)

(61/1465) Psychologic distress and natural menopause: a multiethnic community study.

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between psychologic distress and natural menopause in a community sample of African American, White, Chinese, Hispanic, and Japanese women participating in a national women's health study. METHODS: A cohort of 16,065 women aged 40 to 55 years provided information on menstrual regularity in the previous year, psychosocial factors, health, and somatic-psychologic symptoms. Psychologic distress was defined as feeling tense, depressed, and irritable in the previous 2 weeks. RESULTS: Rates of psychologic distress were highest in early perimenopause (28.9%) and lowest in premenopause (20.9%) and postmenopause (22%). In comparison with premenopausal women, early perimenopausal women were at a greater risk of distress, with and without adjustment for vasomotor and sleep symptoms and covariates. Odds of distress were significantly higher for Whites than for the other racial/ethnic groups. CONCLUSIONS: Psychologic distress is associated with irregular menses in midlife. It is important to determine whether distress is linked to alterations in hormone levels and to what extent a mood-hormone relationship may be influenced by socioeconomic and cultural factors.  (+info)

(62/1465) Minority physicians' experiences obtaining referrals to specialists and hospital admissions.

CONTEXT: Over the past 15 years, policy makers, healthcare providers, and researchers have focused their attention on understanding and reducing ethnic disparities in access to healthcare. Efforts to understand and reduce these disparities in access are driven by the wealth of studies that document significant differences in the health of ethnic minority groups in the United States. OBJECTIVE: To assess differences in access to medical care from African American, Hispanic, and white physicians' perspectives. DESIGN: Using the Community Tracking Study Physician Survey, a nationally representative survey of US physicians, this study assesses physicians' abilities to obtain medically necessary services for their patients. Physicians were asked how often they could arrange referrals to specialists and inpatient admissions for their patients. RESULTS: Controlling for physician characteristics (eg, providing charity care, participation in managed care, Medicaid, and Medicare) and community characteristics (eg, average managed care participation, supply of hospital beds and specialists per capita) reduces the magnitude of differences between white and ethnic minority physicians. Nevertheless, after controlling for a wide range of practice and environmental characteristics, African American physicians were more likely to report problems obtaining hospital admissions, and Hispanic physicians were more likely to report problems obtaining referrals to specialists, compared with white physicians. CONCLUSIONS: Disparities in ethnic minority physicians' abilities to get medical services for their patients exist. This study corroborates that ethnic disparities are not limited to gaining access to primary health services (eg, having a doctor visit or a usual source of medical care) but extend into the healthcare delivery system itself (eg, getting a referral or hospital admission).  (+info)

(63/1465) Immigrants in the Netherlands: equal access for equal needs?

OBJECTIVE: This paper examines whether equal utilisation of health care services for first generation immigrant groups has been achieved in the Netherlands. DESIGN: Survey data were linked to an insurance register concerning people aged 16-64. Ethnic differences in the use of a broad range of health care services were examined in this group, with and without adjustment for health status and socioeconomic status, using logistic regression. SETTING: Publicly insured population in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: 1422 people from the indigenous population, and 378 people from the four largest immigrant groups in the Netherlands-that is, the Surinamese, the Netherlands Antilleans, and the Turkish and Moroccan. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: General practitioner service use (past two months), prescription drug use (past three months), outpatient specialist contact (past two months), hospital admission (past year), physiotherapist contact (past two months) and contact with other paramedics (past year). MAIN RESULTS: Ethnicity was found to be associated with the use of health care after controlling for health status as an indicator for need. The use of general practitioner care and the use of prescribed drugs was increased among people from Surinam, Turkey and Morocco as compared with the indigenous population. Compared with the indigenous group with corresponding health status, the use of all other more specialised services was relatively low among Turkish and Moroccan people. Among the Surinamese population, the use of more specialised care was highly similar to that found in the Dutch population after differences in need were controlled for. Among people from the Netherlands Antilles, we observed a relatively high use of hospital services in combination with underuse of general practitioner services. The lower socioeconomic status of immigrant groups explained most of the increased use of the general practitioner and prescribed drugs, but could not account for the lower use of the more specialised services. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the utilisation of more specialised health care is lower for immigrant groups in the Netherlands, particularly for Turkish and Moroccan people and to a lesser extent, people from the Netherlands Antilles. Although underuse of more specialised services is also present among the lower socioeconomic groups in the Netherlands, the analyses indicate that this only partly explains the lower utilisation of these services among immigrant groups. This suggests that ethnic background in itself may account for patterns of consumption, potentially because of limited access.  (+info)

(64/1465) The face of a child: children's oral health and dental education.

Dental care is the most common unmet health care need of children. Those at increased risk for problems with oral health and access to care are from poor or minority families, lack health insurance, or have special health care needs. These factors place more than 52 percent of children at risk for untreated oral disease. Measures of access and parental report indicate unmet oral health needs, but do not provide guidance as to the nature of children's oral health needs. Children's oral health needs can be predicted from their developmental changes and position in the life span. their dependency and environmental context, and current demographic changes. Specific gaps in education include training of general dentists to care for infants and young children and those with special health care needs, as well as training of pediatric providers and other professionals caring for children in oral health promotion and disease prevention. Educational focus on the technical aspects of dentistry leaves little time for important interdisciplinary health and/or social issues. It will not be possible to address these training gaps without further integration of dentistry with medicine and other health professions. Children's oral health care is the shared moral responsibility of dental and other professionals working with children, parents, and society. Academic dental centers hold in trust the training of oral health professionals for society and have a special responsibility to train future professionals to meet children's needs. Leadership in this area is urgently needed.  (+info)