207385 Eliminating health disparities through implementation of innovative medical education

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Monique S. White, MPH , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Mario J. Azevedo, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Ellen Agho, BS , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Background: Unequal distribution of services is the consequence of historical, political, cultural and economic processes resulting in low investment in human, physical, health and social infrastructure. These socio-economic disparities influenced the availability of resources to individuals with health issues and severely affected accessibility to health care services.

Objectives: We assessed opinions of community and business sectors about whether a school, a program, or track in Osteopathic medicine at Jackson State University can facilitate the reduction in health disparities, and whether present osteopathic services meet the needs in terms of facilities and personnel.

Method: Preliminary data used for this study were gathered from the administration of surveys and focus groups to gather information from a cross-section of Mississippi residents and businesses.

Results: 97% believe there is widespread inaccessibility to health services, 89.1% feel that there is a shortage of qualified African American doctors in Mississippi, 94.9% believe that the development of a Medical School at JSU can reduce health disparities in Mississippi, and 96.8% believe that a Medical School at JSU can build capacity among African American youth in the medical profession, increasing available medical professionals in Mississippi.

Conclusions: There is widespread recognition of health disparities and inaccessibility to healthcare in Mississippi. So far, participants expressed support for alternative sources of training to satisfy the needs of the communities. Implementing new, innovative educational strategies will help remove Mississippi from being among the sickest in the nation, with the highest per capita rates of such chronic illnesses as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and sexually transmitted diseases. The conclusions are from a preliminary study of osteopathy needs in the State, which is to continue over the next two years.

Learning Objectives:
1. Design an educational structure to eliminate health disparities among minority populations. 2. Identify challenges and devise effective solutions for working with Minority Populations. 3. Gain a better understanding of disease prevention management/education activities. 4. Identify how inaccessibility to services translates into risk for chronic diseases.

Keywords: Minority Health, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently serve as the Project Director for The Feasibility Study of Osteopathic Medical Education at Jackson State University. My experiences includes project planning, data entry and participation with this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.