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Health Disparities

Mixed Methods Identify Unique Needs

"Disparity acts like a signpost, indicating something is wrong." (What is a "Health Disparity"? Carter-Pokras and Baquet, Public Health Reports 2002)

Health disparities are well documented among U.S. minority populations. When compared to Caucasians, these groups have higher incidence of chronic disease, higher mortality and poorer health outcomes. For instance, cancer incidence among African Americans is 10% higher than among Caucasians, and adult African Americans and Latinos have approximately twice the risk of developing diabetes and higher rates of cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality.

The Charities' approach to community-based assessment of need is unique in that it combines study methods to gain a more comprehensive picture of community need. For example, researchers use epidemiological data gathering, which identifies and locates those most in need, with community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, which gather local knowledge about the conditions and circumstances that need to change in order to insure a successful intervention.

Our assessment methodology is based on a three-point community health assessment model, adapted from a similar methodology used by the Ministry of Health in Alberta, Canada. These three points include 1) quantitative data profiling (developing a picture of the community through reviewing sub county data including vital statistics, census data, and information on crime, schools, and environmental hazards); 2) qualitative assessment (analyzing data from key informant interviewing and focus groups); and 3) community asset mapping (developing a list of social service organizations in the community as well as community strengths such as resident activism, community cohesion, and strong faith-based organizations within the community) (Kretzman and McKnight 1993).

Through research-informed grantmaking to Texas nonprofits, St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, a separate component of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, improves community health and reduces health disparities.  Our Center for Community-Based Research is dedicated to community-based participatory research practices that foster informed action, collaboration and empowerment for the medically underserved and other vulnerable populations.

© 2012  St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities