20 Nov USPSTF Addresses Health Inequities Due to Social, Economic and Structural Factors
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chyke A. Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H.
Member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force since 2017
Director, the Mayo Clinic Center Health Equity and Community Engagement Research
Department of Family Medicine
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: People who experience systemic racism generally have shorter life expectancies and experience more health problems. Racism can increase the chances of getting preventable conditions, limit access to health information, and restrict access to actual preventive care.
To confront these issues and promote antiracism and health equity, the Task Force commissioned a review of the evidence around how systemic racism currently undermines preventive healthcare. Based on that review, the Task Force has developed an initial set of strategies to reduce the effects of systemic racism, which includes prioritizing topics that are likely to advance health equity, assessing the Task Force’s language to ensure it is culturally appropriate, and calling for more research in people of color.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: For too long, people inappropriately characterized health disparities between people of different races as the result of genetic traits or innate biological differences, rather than due to the impact of racism. This paper outlines the next steps in the Task Force’s commitment towards changing our methods, and our communications, to reflect the reality that health inequities are due to social, economic, and structural factors. Fundamentally, healthcare should not be harder to access and the quality lower for some racial and ethnic groups than it is for others, and we are committed to doing our part to right that wrong.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The Task Force has always been invested in providing recommendations about how to achieve the best possible health care for everyone, but in light of our national reckoning around the impact of systemic racism, we wanted to be even more clear-eyed and proactive about our approach. We are taking clear actions that can begin to help reverse the negative impacts of systemic racism on health. This publication represents the next steps in these ongoing efforts.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Actions to Transform US Preventive Services Task Force Methods to Mitigate Systemic Racism in Clinical Preventive Services. JAMA. Published online November 08, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.17594
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