Monday, January 30, 2012

Healthcare Disparity -- what are we doing?

On Thursday, I followed a "tweetchat" on health disparities led by Jim Anderson, PA-C, ATC, EquityPA on twitter.
"EquityPA is a project of the Health Disparities Work Group of AAPA, the Committee on Diversity of WAPA, and Physician Assistants for Health Equity of the AAPA Seattle."
The tweetchat, my first, was lively and interesting.  These chats can take on a life of their own as participants share their individual experiences and points of view.  Definitely worth doing.
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I learned about implicit bias.

The term implicit bias, also called hidden or unconscious bias, arose out of an attempt to explain the persistence of prejudice in individuals who deny prejudiced views.  In 1995, Harvard researchers postulated that certain social behaviors related to our prejudices may be outside of our conscious control.  Some deny the validity of this idea of implicit bias.

You can test your own potential implicit bias by taking one of the Implicit Association Tests (IAT) on this site.

Medical students taking action to level playing field:

A group of medical students at Yale University started an NGO in Nepal, Nyaya Health, and established a hospital in a remote region that was previously without health care.  What they were able to accomplish was and is nothing short of amazing.
Bayalpata Hospital, operated by Nyaya Health in Nepal.
They have established a hospital run by the Nepalese that is not only saving lives but addressing the social basis of some of the disparities in this region.  Women in this area of Nepal are considered less deserving of healthcare and the expense it entails to the family than their male children, husbands and relatives.

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