The studies were led by Glenn Flores, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College, and director of the Center for the Advancement of Underserved Children at the Medical College and Children's Hospital.
The Medical College team analysed data from the National Survey of Early Childhood Health on 2,608 children aged four to 35 months. The children were classified as non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic.
"The causes of the racial and ethnic disparities noted in this study are not clear, and could not be examined with the data available in the survey,” Dr. Flores said. There was no difference in parental reports on whether or not the child's healthcare provider regarded the parent as the expert on that child. There were no reported differences in the amount of time the provider spent with the child. Overall ratings of well-child providers were the same.
But, Hispanic and black children were significantly less likely than white children to be in excellent or very good health. They were more likely to have been uninsured for at least part of the year. Hispanic parents most often reported that providers never or only sometimes understood their child's needs.
Minority parents were more likely to be asked about violence, smoking, alcohol and drug use; all parents should be asked about these issues. Hispanic and black parents made fewer phone calls to doctor's offices than white parents; parents who filled out the survey in Spanish made the fewest calls pointing up the continuing language barrier in healthcare.
And, most worrisome, providers referred Hispanic and black children to specialists less often. Hispanic parents also were twice as likely as white parents to not recommend their child's health care provider to friends and family.
MEDICA.de; Source: Medical College of Wisconsin