1. What social structural factors contribute to health disparities for persons of minority group status? How might these factors be overcome?
Angel (2006) and colleague argues that despite a century of impressive innovations in medical science and improvements in public health, poverty continues to undermine the physical and emotional health of a large number of Americans, and serious racial/ethnic health disparities persist. Low-income families have inadequate health care coverage, and individuals who lack adequate insurance are more likely to die from cancer and other serious diseases because of late diagnosis and deficient care. Angel et al. questions whether health disadvantages among minority Americans are the direct and almost complete result of poverty and its correlates. The authors show that well documented correlates includes low educational levels, labor force disadvantages, and residential segregation in ghettos and barrios, where individuals are exposed to environmental and social health risks such as drugs, violence, and family disruption. The authors also show that racial/ethnic disparities in morbidity and mortality are so glaring that the federal government has been forced to respond, and a large body of research has examined the role of socioeconomic status and culture play in these disparities. The ultimate goal is to identify the social structural cause of inequities in health so that general population health can be improved. Campbell’s (2005) article suggests four articles that examined lifestyle factors such as dietary practices and physical activity and reveals the chronic conditions that may be a result of lifestyle risk factors among Hispanics. This also includes gestational diabetes and osteoporosis. Campbell also mentioned another article written by Shurgot and Knight, which outlines the theoretical significance of sociocultural factors on stress and coping strategies among caregivers from different ethnic groups. The articles sift through the differential impact on individual level health outcomes of physiological, lifestyle, and ethno cultural factors, suggesting that if cultural competency were included as part of prevention programs, and disparities could be substantially reduced.