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Modest Improvements in Awareness of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities over a Decade

Despite persistent racial and ethnic gaps in health care and health status, awareness of such disparities remains low among the general public. Much work remains to be done to better inform the U.S. population of health conditions that disproportionately impact specific racial and ethnic minority groups, according to an OMH survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey found:

  • Fewer than two-thirds of Americans are aware of racial and ethnic health disparities;
  • Awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities generally increases with education;
  • Awareness of racial and ethnic health care access disparities is increasing, but remains low;
  • Awareness of racial and ethnic disparities for key health status indicators and diseases remains low;
  • Awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities remains low even among disproportionately affected minority groups;
  • African Americans are more aware of racial and ethnic disparities;
  • Awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities impacting Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders remains very low; and
  • Public familiarity with important national health disparities reports and awareness campaigns is generally low.

The article about the OMH/NORC survey and its web supplements (General Population Questionnaire; Creating an Awareness Index) are available on the Health Affairs website. In addition, copies of the Study Brief and 2010 General Population Toplines are available on the Office of Minority Health website.

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