Women of Color, Poor Women Suffer More Inequalities in Health Care

U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher argues in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association (JAMWA) that women, especially women of color and poor women, are particularly burdened by inequalities in the health care system that must be addressed with “reinventing health care delivery,” from addressing language barriers to other much needed services. Satcher notes disturbing statistics on higher incidence of disease and death from certain diseases among specific racial groups. For example, “[t]wenty percent of Americans currently living with HIV are women, and 77% of those are African American or Hispanic.” The Fall, 2001 issue of the JAMWA is dedicated to “Disparities in Women’s Health,” an analysis of the underlying causes of racial and ethnic inequalities in women’s health and sex differences in health care delivery. The issue also addresses the impact of socio-economic status, age, and disease on such health care disparities as the receipt of health care services and the rates of certain diseases among specific populations. In addition to HIV, the issue also addresses cardiovascular disease and health care needs for the elderly, among other topics.

In his article, Satcher does cite positive resources available to women, including the Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health National Women’s Health Information Center and toll free telephone service (1-800-994WOMAN, TDD: 1-888-220-5446), which offers specialized information on culturally appropriate information on health problems in English and Spanish. For more resources on women’s health, visit the Feminist Internet Gateway.


Kaiser Family Foundation

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