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Eliminating Healthcare Disparities in America: Beyond the IOM Report

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In their timely and important book, ELIMINATING HEALTHCARE DISPARITIES IN AMERICA: BEYOND THE IOM REPORT, Dr. Richard Allen Williams and colleagues provide a comprehensive analysis of the causes and potential solutions to eliminating health care disparities. Their work is timely, because little progress has been made in reducing disparities since they were first systematically documented in the 1985 Report on Minority Health; yet the 21st century will certainly bring a huge shift in the demographics of the country such that people of color will be the new majority. However, we must not forget that Williams’ scholarly tone is about real people and how to improve the healthcare system so their health care and lives are better.

Allow me to share an interesting story about someone I recently met and who is counting on us to heed the sage words in ELIMINATING HEALTHCARE DISPARITIES IN AMERICA: BEYOND THE IOM REPORT if she is ever going to have the chance of surviving in our world. I will call her Mrs. Jones.

When my schedule permits, I supervise medical residents who train at a community health clinic about a half hour drive from our offices outside Princeton. The health clinic is where I encountered Mrs. Jones, a 56-year old African-American woman diagnosed with diabetes. While obtaining her family history, it was determined that diabetes runs in her family and caused the amputation of her mother’s foot some time in the past.
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