Introduction Race and culture are vital ingredients that contribute to a patient’s entire being. In America patterns of health disparities along racial lines are evident with racial minorities such as the Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians experiencing high rates of morbidity and mortality. These health disparities are in one way or the way a result of socioeconomic disparities between different races. The minorities are likely to be economically deprived hence poverty, less education, and lack of access to health care. However, these factors do not fully account for health disparities as even when they are controlled, the disparities still exist along racial lines. The aim of this essay is thus to evaluate the reasons for health and socioeconomic disparities along racial lines. The socioeconomic status differs along racial lines and date back to the slavery period when Africans were treated as property (slaves) of the whites and given a subordinate status. Even after the Civil War and Reconstruction, disparities still persisted especially due to segregation. People of color are more likely to live in poor conditions and lack access to education and consequently meaningful employment. According to Dayer-Berenson, poverty and less education are the factors that underlie health disparities in the country (184). Due to poverty, these minority groups are unable to access preventive and primary care services. Most are likely to have health insurance hence lack usual source of care. Health disparities along racial lines also occur due to cultural incompetence and language barriers. According to Dayer-Berenson, patient’s experiences are unique based on racial, cultural and ethnic background (154). It is thus essential to carry out cultural assessment, document and communicate the same among all healthcare professionals if the gap in care disparities is to be narrowed instead of only dealing with poverty, access and education level. Different racial groups have different beliefs and practice that impact on healthcare. Cultural competence is thus vital in reducing these disparities as patients are only able to identify with and trust the results of care providers who are conversant with their culture and language or if they are of same race. But due to segregation, Blacks attended Black medical schools which were not well funded hence inequalities in healthcare. Healthcare discrimination in this case resulted in healthcare disparities (Dayer-Brenson 157). Once racial discrimination is eliminated and cultural competence is enhanced, then health disparities along racial lines will be eliminated.Work CitedDager-Berenson, Linda. Cultural Competencies for Nurses: Impact of Health and Illness. 2ed. Burlington, MA: Jones amp. Bartlett, 2011.
What are some reasons for health and socioeconomic disparities along racial lines