Nursing

Healthcare discrepancy affects urban minorities

Nurse Leader Insider, November 20, 2007

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According to a new report by the Urban Indian Health Commission (UIHC), millions of American Indians and Alaska natives face severe healthcare disparities. The UIHC is a select group of leaders convened by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Seattle Indian Health Board's Urban Indian Health Institute to examine healthcare issues facing urban American Indians and Alaska Natives. Its findings reveal the alarming prevalence of three diseases among the urban American Indian population: depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Compared to the general U.S. population, American Indians and Alaska Natives have a higher incidence of diabetes, a greater mortality rate from diabetes, and an earlier age of diabetes onset. Furthermore, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives and kills more of the population age 45 and older than cancer, diabetes, and unintentional injuries combined.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in cities are ineligible for or are unable to use health services offered through the Indian Health Service or tribes. Even when urban Indians do have access to quality healthcare, they must overcome cultural barriers. In addition, there is no uniform policy regarding urban Indian health, and current federal executive policy actually aims to eliminate funding for urban Indian health within the Indian Health Service.

Source: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation



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