MDBriefCase will be unavailable due to maintenance from Sunday, January 14 11PM to Monday, January 15 1AM ET.

2023-04-24

National Minority Health Month: Addressing Health Disparities in Diverse Populations

Health equity can be achieved when all individuals receive an equal opportunity to reach their full potential for health and well-being, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status. It involves healthcare providers ensuring everyone has access to high-quality healthcare, healthy living conditions, and sufficient resources for good health. 

To raise awareness about health equity and reduce healthcare disparities that affect minority populations worldwide, National Minority Health Month is observed every year in April. Throughout the month, people organize events and activities to provide education about health inequities, including poverty, discrimination, lack of resources, and lack of healthcare access, among minority populations. 

National Minority Health Month aims to address the socioeconomic and environmental factors that cause healthcare disparities and take relevant action to improve health equity.

Improving Health Equity

Health equity can be improved by addressing the underlying causes of healthcare disparities. First, access to high-quality healthcare is essential for achieving health equity. Healthcare access can be enhanced by increasing the number of healthcare providers in underprivileged communities, expanding health insurance coverage, and improving the quality of healthcare services. 

Efforts to increase health literacy through education and resources are also instrumental in promoting healthy behaviours and awareness. 

Cultural competence is another essential factor for improving health equity. It involves delivering personalized healthcare to meet the needs of people with varied backgrounds, beliefs, values, and behaviours. It requires providers to understand and respect the cultural and linguistic differences of the diverse populations they serve. 

Addressing Language Barriers in Healthcare 

Language barriers in healthcare lead to poor health outcomes due to preventable medical errors, low adherence to treatments or medical advice, poor health-seeking behaviour, lack of confidence in healthcare, and low patient satisfaction. Addressing language barriers is critical so that all patients can understand their health problems, treatment options, and medical instructions and receive proper care. This can help promote health equity and reduce disparities. 

Tips for Improving Communication with Limited English Proficient Patients 

Many patients may speak foreign languages and may not be proficient in English. You must prioritize health communication with such patients to ensure they receive high-quality care and understand crucial medical information. 

Here are tips for developing a language access plan and improving health communication with limited English proficient patients:

  • Respect the culture and needs of the people you serve: Train your staff for cultural competence to respect all cultures, beliefs, and values. Assign points of contact for patients. Also, use methods like the “I speak” card to help identify what language an individual speaks.
  • Provide translated materials: Use translated patient education materials like brochures and flyers to supplement health communication.¬†
  • Use medical interpreting services:¬†Offer medical interpreting services through trained in-person, phone, or video interpreters. They can help patients understand medical information, discuss their problems, and ask questions.
  • Hire bilingual healthcare providers: Staff who are fluent in multiple languages can help address language barriers in healthcare, and their cultural competencies are valuable as well.¬†
  • Use technology:¬†Software tools such as translation apps can help translate medical information into different languages and effectively address linguistic disparities in healthcare.¬†
  • Simplify communication: Speak slowly, use simple language, and avoid medical jargon. Use visual aids such as pictures or videos to clarify concepts and check if your patient understands the information.
  • Be patient: Listen to all your patients’ concerns and questions, and give them the time they need to express themselves.

Join the MDBriefCase Community

Join the MDBriefCase community for free and discover various healthcare-related courses. Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest clinical recommendations, developments, and emerging therapies to provide quality care to your patients, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background.

Author Agreement

In submitting your work (the ‚ÄúWork‚ÄĚ) for potential posting on the MDBriefCase Healthcare Leadership Academy website (the ‚ÄúWebsite‚ÄĚ), you (‚ÄúYou‚ÄĚ) expressly agree to the following:

Review: MDBriefCase is pleased to consider the publication of Your Work on the Website.   The suitability of the Work for posting shall be determined by MDBRiefCase at its sole discretion. Nothing herein shall obligate MDBriefcase to post or otherwise publish the Work, or the maintain its posting in future.   

Editing; Identification: MDBriefcase shall have the right to edit the Work to conform to our standards of style, technological requirements, language usage, grammar and punctuation, provided that the meaning of the Work is not materially altered.  If posted, You will be identified as the author of the Work, or co-author if applicable.  

Grant of Rights:  As a condition of publication and for no monetary compensation, You hereby grant to MDBriefCase the following rights to the Work in any and all media whether now existing or hereafter developed, including print and electronic/digital formats:  (1) the exclusive right of first publication worldwide;  (2) the perpetual non-exclusive worldwide right to publish, reproduce, distribute, sell, adapt, perform, display, sublicense, and create derivative works, alone or in conjunction with other materials; (3) the perpetual non-exclusive worldwide right to use the Work, or any part thereof, in any other publication produced by MDBriefCase and/or on MDBriefCase’s website; and (4) the perpetual non-exclusive worldwide right to use the Work to promote and publicize MDBriefCase or its publications.  The grant of rights survives termination or expiration of this Agreement.    

Warranty:  You warrant that the Work is original with You and that it is not subject to any third party copyright; that You have authority to grant the rights in this Agreement; that publication of the Work will not libel anyone or infringe on or invade the rights of others; that You have full power and authority to enter into this Agreement; that the Work has not been published elsewhere in whole or in part; and that You have obtained permission from the copyright owner consistent with this Agreement for any third party copyrighted material in the Work.  This warranty survives termination or expiration of this Agreement.

Submission Agreement

Thank you for your interest in writing an article for the MDBriefCase Healthcare Leadership Academy website.

Audience and Appropriate Topics

The  Healthcare Leadership Academy welcomes submissions on all topics relevant to leaders in healthcare. Our topics include Leading in Healthcare, Leadership Lessons from COVID-19 and others. We prioritize stories that provide leadership advice to executives and managers in healthcare companies, offer actionable strategies for executing successful projects, and provide interesting angles on current healthcare topics. Submissions must be original work of the authors and unpublished.  When submitting, authors represent that they have included no material that is in violation of the rights of any other person or entity.

Parameters

Articles must be educational and non-promotional. If they mention the author’s company or any of the company’s products or services by name within the text, such mention should be very limited and used for reference only, not for promotion. (For example, an author might cite a survey conducted by his company but not describe his company’s product as a solution to a business problem.) Articles will be edited for clarity, style and brevity. The final headline is determined by the editor.

Length of Submissions

Guest articles for the MDBriefCase Healthcare Leadership Academy may run between 500 and 1000 words. 

Review

MDBriefCase reserves the right to accept or reject any submission  and the right to condition acceptance upon revision of material to conform to its criteria.   

No Compensation

There is no payment for contributed articles. However, MDBriefCase will give the author a byline. Authors are invited to link to the article on personal  websites, corporate websites and social media platforms.

Author Agreements

Each author understands and agrees that any submission accepted for posting is provided subject to MDBriefCase’s Author Agreement.