Ethnic Minorities In Health Care

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1. Introduction

Identity can take many forms in the society, from gender and sex to culture and family. Not only does identity define who we are but identity also influences the position we have in a society. When we talk about our identity in relation to culture or values, we often refer to the ethnic element. Ethnicity is a form of identity (based on Max Weber’s definition): “members of a group see themselves as similar and are perceived by others as similar by sharing physical resemblance and/or common customs and ancestry” (Hechter, 1976). Even though ethnicity is a common way to assimilate oneself to a group or community, it can also hinder an individual from integrating into the social activities of the host country (Esser, 2003). This
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Interpreting services is a common intervention to eliminate this barrier. However, health care systems and clinical processes of care are shaped by the management that designs them and the workforce that carries them out. Despite representing nearly 30% of the United States’ population, African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans make up only 11.3% of its physicians, 15% of its nurses and less than 20% of the medical and health services management personnel (HRSA, 2010; U.S. Census, 2010). From this organizational standpoint, one factor that impinges on both the availability and acceptability of health care for members of ethnic minority groups is the degree to which the nation’s health care management and workforce reflect the racial/ethnic composition of the general population. The purpose of this paper is to review and synthesize the existing literature related to the potential impact of increasing minority representation in health care system on ethnic disparities. Therefore, the research question is:
“How does minority representation in the healthcare workforce affect ethnic disparities in the medical field?”
First of all, I will discuss the conflict of ethnic disparities in the United States. Second, I will discuss the impact on minority’s interest and communication. The following sections will explore discrimination
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Ethnic disparities in health and health care impose costs on many parts of society, including individuals, families, communities, health care organizations, employers, health plans, and government agencies, including Medicare and Medicaid. These costs include direct expenses associated with the provision of care to a sicker and more disadvantaged population as well as indirect costs such as lost productivity, lost wages, absenteeism, family leave to deal with avoidable illnesses, and lower quality of life. For hospitals and clinics, language barriers may result in higher costs because of less efficient utilization of institutional resources. For example, an incomplete medical history truncated by a language barrier may lead a physician to compensate for possible deficiencies in the patient interview by obtaining more laboratory tests and other diagnostic evaluations. (Hampers et al., 1999). Furthermore, premature death imposes significant costs on society in the form of lower wages, lost tax revenues, additional services and benefits for families of the deceased and lower quality of life for survivors. Laveist et al. (2011) found that between 2003 and 2006 the combined direct and indirect cost of health inequalities in the United States was $1.24 trillion (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars) and this equates to $309.3 billion

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