October 24, 2008
MGH Disparities Solutions Center hosts week of events


ADDRESSING DISPARITIES: From left, Cabellero; Elena Olson, JD, MAO executive director; Garcia; and Alex Green, MD, MPH, of the DSC

Building awareness and creating a dialogue about racial and ethnic disparities in health care was the focus of a series of events hosted by the MGH Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) during the week of Oct. 6. The week began with a screening of "Becoming American," an episode of the PBS documentary series, "UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick." The short film highlighted the positive aspects of health and culture that newly arriving Latino immigrants bring to the United States. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with Byron Garcia, MD, MGH staff psychiatrist and medical director at Westwood Lodge Hospital, and Enrique Caballero, MD, director of Latino Diabetes Initiatives at the Joslin Diabetes Center. The film, which was selected in part to acknowledge Latino Heritage Month, was co-sponsored by DSC and the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO).

The next DSC event – part of the DSC Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Keeping Current seminar series – took place Oct. 8. Thomas Sequist, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine and assistant professor of Health Care Policy at BWH and Harvard Medical School, presented "Physician Performance and Racial Disparities in Diabetes Mellitus Care." Sequist presented information from his study, which took place at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, indicating that African-American patients were less likely than white patients to be in control of their diabetes even when seeing the same physician. Based upon these results, the physicians received performance report cards and participated in cultural competence training. The presentation concluded with an in-depth discussion addressing and offering potential solutions to Sequist's findings. For more information about the DSC, access www.mghdisparitiessolutions.org.

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