Conference on Minority Health

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center will hold its annual conference on health care disparities next week. This work is part of a national effort to make health care available to more people who need it, as Jim Bell reports.

It's said that America has the finest health care in the world, but getting it to everyone who needs it is another story. Dr. Lovell Jones Directs the Center for Research on Minority Health at M.D. Anderson, and he says there are disparities, and many reasons for them.

"That means either a lack of access to care.  It is looking at the gap that is due to being in poverty, or being in rural America, or having a language barrier."

Jones says poverty is a large factor but not the only factor in health care disparities. 

"There is the issue that may be, as I said, biological factors. There may be issues of discrimination. Someone being perceived as not being able to pay, and having the ability to pay."  

Dr. Jones says the annual conference on health care disparities draws the best minds in the country to Houston to dig into all these factors and look for solutions. 

"We discuss issues that have to do with Appalachians, with African-Americans, with Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, the whole gamut."

The conference on disparities goes through next week at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  For information on the conference, view the CRMH conference website page.

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.