As the United States becomes more heterogeneous, better and more complete data can help us better understand the impact of diversity on health and health care, and help us devise patient-centered care strategies for diverse populations. Currently, information about many minority groups, such as Latino and American Indian subgroups, is limited, and few data sources capture this heterogeneity. This project will bring together a team of multidisciplinary senior faculty researchers for two main functions: (1) to conduct disparities research on the care provided to minority subpopulations for chronic diseases; and (2) to mentor junior faculty investigators to develop a new generation of researchers with the skills needed to reduce the disparities through improved health care.
The Network will use national and regional databases to conduct secondary analyses to identify intraethnic and interethnic determinants of healthcare quality. These findings will be widely disseminated in order to inform strategies for eliminating healthcare disparities. The Network will prioritize research on intra-group determinants (acculturation, ethnic subgroup, language preference, demographic factors, etc.) of quality of care in Latino and American Indian populations. Findings will be disseminated through conference presentations, web site, peer reviewed journals, policy papers, and fact sheets.
The Network administration is situated at UCLA in the Department of Family Medicine, and the program directors are Michael Rodriguez and William Vega. The Network is composed of distinguished expert faculty from a variety of national universities. The Network will also support five Healthcare Quality Scholars each year to address the health and quality of care issues affecting people from underserved groups with a primary focus on diabetes/obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. By providing support to Healthcare Quality Research Scholars, the Network is committed to helping develop successful independent scientists and increase the pipeline of researchers addressing quality of care issues of the underserved.
The network's primary aims are to:
- Understand how social, ethnic, linguistic and economic factors affect the way health care providers serve minority populations.
- Study how personal, cultural and social factors promote or impede adequate health care and disease management.
- Examine health care system barriers to quality care for chronic conditions.
Explore how various factors including sources of health information, diet and exercise, self-management of chronic conditions, and levels of health literacy among patients and their families influence minorities' health status.