Extensive research has documented disparities in access to and quality of health care among racial and ethnic minorities. There are some indications that these disparities are even greater among individuals who also have disabilities. Disability, especially complex disability, is more common in some racial and ethnic minority groups than it is among non-Hispanic Whites. The combination of disability with membership in a minority racial or ethnic group is associated with less access to the social determinants of health (e.g. education, employment, income) than belonging to either group alone. Yet, little work has been done to specifically examine the intersection of race, ethnicity, and disability in relation to health care access and utilization. The proposed conference will address this gap. The purpose of the conference is to share what is currently known and generate an action plan for developing new knowledge to address identified problems and gaps. The rationale for conducting such a conference is that research on racial and ethnic disparities and research on disability- related disparities has thus far been conducted largely independently. A meeting with both groups of researchers is needed to build bridges between these two bodies of research and focus on the overlap of the two populations. Further, there is a need to facilitate translation of research findings into practice. Health care consumers, clinicians, health plans, and policy makers will be included in the conference in order to speed distribution of data that can inform and influence health care practices. These end users will also provide valuable input regarding informational needs, ensuring that future research is relevant and responsive to patient and health system priorities. The conference has three specific aims: 1) Disseminate findings from current projects studying disparities in health care access and utilization among minorities with disabilities;2) Promote collaboration between racial and ethnic health disparity researchers and disability researchers in addressing health care disparities experienced by minorities with disabilities;and 3) Define issues and challenges in the practice of health care for racial and ethnic minorities with disabilities and develop a research agenda to study and address these issues. The conference will culminate in recommendations for further research into disparities and strategies to increase access to and utilization of health care for people with disabilities in racial and ethnic minority groups. Future implementation of these recommendations, in turn, will contribute to improvements in the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for minorities with physical, sensory, and/or intellectual disabilities.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed conference is important to improving health care efficiency and quality by advancing efforts to eliminate disparities in access to care and receipt of recommended preventive care services. It focuses on a particularly high risk population: individuals in racial and ethnic minority groups who also have disabilities. This conference will disseminate current research on disparities in health care access and utilization within this population and develop an action agenda for future health services research regarding improvements in health care delivery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Conference (R13)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHS1-HSR-T (05))
Program Officer
Desoto, Maushami
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Oregon Health and Science University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Horner-Johnson, Willi; Fujiura, Glenn T; Goode, Tawara D (2014) Promoting a new research agenda: health disparities research at the intersection of disability, race, and ethnicity. Med Care 52:S1-2