Dr. Thaddeus Bell discusses which ethnic and minority groups face the greatest healthcare disparities.
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Healthcare Disparities Rebecca Fox: Welcome to ICYou on topic, our focus today is on healthcare disparities and joining us now in our studio is family practice physician Doctor Thaddeus Bell who has spent much of his career addressing this issue and Dr. Bell, thank you so much of joining us. Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Thank you very much Rebecca. I always enjoy talking to you. Rebecca Fox: I want to jump right into it which ethnic or minority group faces the greatest healthcare discrimination and why? Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Well, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, women, probably more subject to the health disparities than any other group of people. There are others, I just named a few. The reason of that that is the case is difficult to explain because it is very, very complex. The one that I like to focus on a lot is the patient taking responsibility for his own care and by that I mean becoming more educated about his medical problem and then following though with the information that he has been given for an example, taking his medications. But as, a lot of literature is now beginning to show, there are some other barriers; one barriers that was recently brought at there is that physicians could—all possible, physicians are not possible, they are responsible for some of the health disparities that is currently being seen; physician’s bias, physician’s predators, physician’s unwillingness to change. So, those are some of the causes of health disparities. A major cause that a lot of people now are talking about is not having access to healthcare. If you talk to the a lot of the major organizations that look at people’s care and you look at the 47 million people in country alone who don’t have access to health care, a lot of that is based on social or economic factors. So, it is a very, very complicated problem. Some of the people that have contributed to it, I think the medical profession has contributed to it, I think that the insurance companies have contributed to some of the health disparities. I think that the government has contributed to the health disparities. It is a very, very complicated issue but one that I feel comfortable talking about; patient’s responsibility and also making physicians recognize that there is a possibility that they could contribute to the cause. Rebecca Fox: And you mentioned social economic factors. Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Yeah. Rebecca Fox: Now if you remove that, what are some other things that play, are there cultural difference? Dr. Thaddeus Bell: There are definitely cultural differences and that is one of the reasons why a lot of organizations are calling for physicians to have diversity training. It is really kind of interesting because there was a survey done in the national media among physicians as to whether or not physicians should have diversity training and the survey showed that 60% of the physicians thought that there should be a diversity training and of course 40% did not understand. Why there should be diversity training? Coming from a diversity background, I think that not having diversity training causes you to miss out and causes you to misdiagnose, mistreat patients who you may not be accustomed to treating. So I think it’s very, very important that that kind of training is brought to bear. We are also noticing that a lot of licensure bullets of mandating that there are doctors have diversity training particularly in states where multicultural is very, very prevalent. In South Carolina, we do not have that as of yet but we do have a diverse population in South Carolina. We have Hispanic population which is growing in leaps and bounds. We have the African American population, we have a very small population of Indians, so I think that if you are going to be practicing in a global market and if you are going to be practicing—you are going to be giving world class care, you got to have some cultural training as to why people think differently, why they may not accept your med