Dr. Woolhandler

Racial Disparities in Specialty Outpatient Physician Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Woolhandler

Dr. Woolhandler

Steffie Woolhandler MD MPH, FACP
Professor of Public health and Health Policy
CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College
Co-founder and board member
Physicians for a National Health Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:   We analzyed a national database of healthcare utilization. We found racial disparities exist in use of specialist MD services by Black- and Native-Americans relative to White-Americans, despite their greater needs.  Hispanic- and Asian-Americans also receive specialist care at low rates.  

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: To remedy these disparities, we should remove financial barriers to specialist care though Medicare for All or Single-Payer reform.

We must also increase medical school enrollment for students of color.

Finally we must increase access to specialist services in communities of color.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research should focus on evaluating solutions to these disparities, which are best characterized as a result of structural racism. This includes eliminating financial barriers for patients of color or other reparative actions.

Christopher Cai has worked as a paid health policy fellow in the office of US Representative Pramila Jayapal, as an unpaid board member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), which advocates for single payer national health insurance, and has received a small stipend from PNHP for prior work on an unrelated study. 


Cai C, Gaffney A, McGregor A, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Outpatient Visit Rates Across 29 Specialties. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 19, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.3771



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Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD