, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 110-112
Date: 15 Dec 2010

Patient Navigation: The Promise to Reduce Health Disparities

This is an excerpt from the content

There is a great need for effective interventions to address health disparities for vulnerable populations, which may be defined by low education, low literacy, low income, inadequate health insurance, or minority racial / ethnic status. Many efforts have focused on the social determinants of health, resting on the notion that the magnitude of health outcome disparities affecting so many different racial and ethnic groups argues against biologic differences, but is rather due to social and cultural influences on how patients use or receive care. This implies that personalized medicine to address genetic risk alone will not eliminate health disparities, but rather systems interventions to improve access and the process of care delivery are critical to improving the health of the entire nation.

Looking specifically at cancer outcomes, lower screening rates are well described for underserved populations1. Even where screening rates are similar between racial and ethnic groups,2 differences