African Americans encounter disparities in treatment and outcome of atrial fibrillation

78024666Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body.  A new study published in Ethnicity and Disease has shown a disparity in the diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes of AF between African American and White patients. This study analyzed data derived from 165,319 hospitalized patients with a diagnosis of AF. The data was part of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample dataset of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and it included 1051 hospitals in 40 states from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

Some key findings:

  • African Americans are diagnosed with AF less often than their White counterparts.
  • African Americans are less likely to receive standard in-hospital treatments for AF compared to their White counterparts.
  • African American men have double the odds of dying during hospitalization for AF compared to White men.

The lead investigator of the study, Dr. Sahar Naderi, spoke to the gravity of the results derived from this study.

“While these are all associations and not confirmed disparities, I think we should be aware that there may be treatment differences in AF,” said Naderi. “At the end of the day, we can have all the technology we want, but if we’re not using it appropriately and considering it for all of our patients equally, we’re not providing effective healthcare.”

Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health


Health is a Human Right: Race and Place in America–CDC Exhibit Ends Tomorrow!


Tomorrow is the last day to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) Health is a Human Right: Race and Place in America exhibit. “This exhibition examines some historic challenges of the past 120 years in achieving health equity for all in the U.S. We know that “race and place” are as important as personal choices in achieving our full potential. People with low-incomes, minorities, and other socially disadvantaged populations face significant inequities in opportunity for optimal health. This can lead to inequities in health, along the lines of race, ethnicity, and place.”

1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329

Museum Hours
Thursday: 9am-7pm ET

For more information on the exhibition, please click here.  To learn more on social determinants of health and why #PLACEMATTERS, please visit the Joint Center’s Health Policy Institute.


Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center



Companies lower healthcare costs for workers


AAHealthWith the passing and enactment of the Affordable Care Act, more than 7 million Americans have been afforded the opportunity to sign up for comprehensive healthcare coverage. A provision that came with the ACA was the formation of Employers Centers of Excellence Network, a program comprised of large companies like Walmart, Target, Wells Fargo, and Lowes. Under this program, employees of these companies are able to undergo free hip and knee replacements at several hospitals around the country. Also provided under this program are travel costs, hospital expenses, and expenses for both the employee and a caregiver that can accompany them to the hospital.

These provisions have major implications for the African American community. Walmart is the largest employer of African Americans in the United States. About 20% of Walmart’s 1.4 million employees are African American. This program could bring some well-needed financial relief to communities that need it the most.


Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Air Pollution Exposure Greater for Minorities

A new report titled National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality, indicates a disparity in exposure to air pollution, specifically nitrous oxide exposure, among nonwhites compared to whites.  This disparity is greater between nonwhites and whites than it is between people from contrasting economic backgrounds.  Youth and elderly nonwhites are particularly at risk.  Key findings from the report are as follows:

  • Urban outdoor air pollution is one of the leading causes of death in nations with stronger economies
  • Concentrations of nitrous oxide are greater in 87.5% of nonwhite groups studied than groups of whites studied for this report
  • With intervention, about 7,000 annual deaths related to nitrous oxide induced heart disease could be reduce
    • For comparison, an intervention with a similar benefit would be 3.2 million fewer adults (age 30–44) beginning smoking

Authors of the article say disparity in nitrous oxide exposures among minorities is a public health concern and it is a matter of environmental injustice that requires attention.


Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School



More Americans Get Covered in States Embracing ACA

According to the Gallup poll released yesterday, the uninsured rate is dropping faster in states that have fully embraced the Affordable Care Act.  The uninsured rate among adults 18 years and older in the 21 states (including Washington, DC) that set up their own healthcare exchanges and expanded Medicaid, have dropped 2.5%.  The 29 states who choose not to expand Medicaid and/or not to set up healthcare exchanges only declined 0.8%.



Click here to learn more about Medicaid Expansion in the politically conservative Deep South.

Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

EVENT: Arkansas Minority Health Summit- April 18th


Date: Friday, April 18, 2014
Time: 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Join public health leaders from around the country for a full day of activities designed to provide learning opportunities about new and emerging trends focused on health equity for minority communities in Arkansas.
Be in attendance as we release the results of a new UAMS study, funded by the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, that suggests that eliminating health disparities for Arkansas minorities would have resulted in a reduction of direct medical care expenditures of $518.60 million in 2010. In this study, AMHC and UAMS sought to estimate the economic impact of racial and ethnic disparities in Arkansas.
Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

Are you really healthy? Disparity in self-rated and physical health



What can be said of perceptions around being healthy in the African American community? A new study published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease showed a discrepancy between self-rated health and physical health in the African American community. The study analyzed data retrieved from 1,200 individuals in the Faith, Activity and Nutrition program. This program propagates healthy living, like eating fruits and vegetables and regularly exercising, in members of 74 churches across South Carolina.

Some key findings of the study include:

  •  Participants who rated their health with high marks were less likely to have high cholesterol, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. There were also more likely to be physically active and to eat healthy.
  • Surprisingly, many individuals who rated their health high had several chronic diseases.
  • The authors stated, “A lot of people had hypertension and obesity, and they really didn’t engage in healthy behaviors, but they still rated their own health as good to excellent.” 


Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

SAVE THE DATE! Minority Health Twitter Chat April 23 @ 1PM ET


REACH Minority National Organizations Twitter Chat

As part of National Minority Health Month, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will host a Twitter chat on Wednesday, April 23, at 1:00pm EST to engage and educate key stakeholders on strategies that alleviate chronic disease disparities. The chat will feature the six REACH Minority National Organizations (MNO), including Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and  Leadership (APPEAL), Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Black Women’s Health Imperative, and National Council of La Raza (NCLR). REACH is a national initiative vital to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.

The theme of National Minority Health Month is “Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity”. It emphasizes the critical role of prevention in reducing health disparities. It is a call to action, a charge for all of us to unite towards a common goal of improving the health of our communities. Twitter makes it easy for you to get involved in the conversation. Just include #REACHMNO in your tweet and follow:

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies: @Jointcenter



Black Women’s Health Imperative: @blkwomenshealth



Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center