Conferences & Symposia

Bridging the Racial Divide in Health Care:
Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Status


March 11, 2005

"Racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive a lower quality of healthcare than non-minorities, even when access-related factors, such as patients’ insurance status and income, are controlled. The sources of these disparities are complex, are rooted in historic and contemporary inequities, and involve many participants at several levels."

Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. IOM, 2003.

Racial and ethnic disparities, or inequalities, in health status are a critical issue in Maryland and across America. Despite improvements in the overall health of the U.S. population, the quality of health care in this country is far from uniform across racial and ethnic groups. In fact, for millions of minorities, the health care system remains separate and unequal. The causes of these disparities are complex, but may include such factors as socioeconomic differences, environmental degradation, and discrimination.

In addition, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and some Asian Americans, while comprising an increasingly large percentage of the U.S. population, remain significantly underrepresented in the medical and research professions. While America will soon become a nation of minorities, there is still a tremendous lack of minority physicians and health care workers. A recent report from a blue ribbon panel studying healthcare workforce diversity concluded that “the fact that the nation’s health professions have not kept pace with changing demographics may be an even greater cause of disparities in health access and outcomes than the persistent lack of health insurance for tens of millions of Americans.”

Racial and ethnic disparities in health status have been well documented. It is time to move from identifying the problem to implementing the solutions. This conference will showcase innovative leaders who are tackling the disparities challenges, community by community. Among the topics to be discussed at this conference are:

  • Promising practices for eliminating health disparities
  • The role of the legislative branch in combating disparities
  • Increasing workforce diversity as a strategy to eliminate disparities
  • Foundations and government funders as catalysts to eliminate disparities

This all-day conference will bring together academics, policy makers, foundation and community leaders, and others to discuss innovative and results-oriented strategies to eliminate health disparities in Maryland and across the country.

Papers written by several of the speakers will be included in a symposium issue of the Journal of Health Care Law and Policy.


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UM | About This Site | Site Map | Contact Us


500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved