The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4131.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Table 9

Abstract #49250

Racial and ethnic discrimination in Seattle and King County health care settings

Michael S. Smyser, MPH1, William Hobson, MS2, and Sandra Ciske, MN, RN1. (1) Epidemiology, Planning and Evaluation Unit, Public Health - Seattle & King County, 999 Third Avenue, Suite 1200, Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 205-0560,, (2) Bureau of Primary Health Care, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, 4350 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814

Background: A number of studies report that persons of color in many areas of the United States may receive medical care that is inferior to patients who are white. Few studies, however, document how often persons of color believe they receive discriminatory care.

Methods: Two telephone surveys conducted in 1995-1996 (Ethnicity and Health Survey) and 1999 (Communities Count 2000) among King County adults included questions pertaining to discrimination in health care settings. A qualitative in-person survey (The Interview Project) was also conducted in 1999 among 51 African Americans to understand the range of discrimination experiences of African Americans living in King County.

Results: Ethnicity and Health survey reports of ANY REPORTED HISTORY of discrimination in health care settings were more frequent among Korean, Filipino, Latino/Hispanic, and African American respondents (17%, 19%, 21%, and 32%, respectively) compared to whites (13%). Discrimination IN THE PAST YEAR was also reported in the Communities Count 2000 survey more frequently among respondents of color (9%) and African Americans (16%) compared to whites (4%). Discrimination experiences among African Americans documented in the Interview Project ranged from differential treatment to rude behavior and racial slurs. These incidents were both relatively recent and widespread.

Conclusion: Discrimination toward persons of color in King County health care settings may pose a significant barrier to receiving quality medical services. The potential impact of discriminatory events on health seeking behavior as well as recommendations for eliminating discrimination in health care settings will also be discussed in this presentation.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation the participant will be able to

Keywords: Access, Minorities

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Overcoming Barriers to Care: Meeting Consumer Expectations

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA