African-American women making strides in entrepreneurship

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A new report by the Center for American Progress has shown that women of color are a major driving force in the United States economy by virtue of entrepreneurship. Women of color own about one-third of all women-owned firms in the U.S. Between 1997 and 2013, the number of female-owned firms and businesses in the U.S. grew by 59%, African-American women-owned businesses grew by 258%, the highest of any racial group. This increase in entrepreneurship has been attributed to inequalities and challenges faced by women of color in the traditional workplace. Some of these challenges include limited access to mentors, exclusion from elite networks, and gender wage gap. In 2012, African American women made 64 percent of their white male counterparts’ wages, compared to Latino women (53%), Asian women (87%), and White women (78%).

While there has been major growth and success experienced by African American women in entrepreneurship, challenges still remain. Almost half of all African American women business owners reported facing challenges in trying to obtain business financing. Research has shown that women are less likely to receive loans compared to their male counterparts. Also, minority-owned businesses encounter difficulties in receiving loans from financial institutions, compared to white-owned business. This puts African American women business owners in an extremely difficult and daunting predicament with being both a woman and a racial minority. Reducing prejudices and inequalities, especially in the financial sector, will help foster a successful and fruitful environment for African American women in the entrepreneurship sector.

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

 

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New report show poor outcomes for African-American children

 

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A new report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation has shed light on various outcomes for children in the United States. Some of the outcomes measured include: babies born at normal birth-weight, fourth graders who scored at or above proficient in reading, children who live in two-parent families, children who live in low-poverty areas (poverty <20%), and high school students graduating on time. The report showed a disparity in many of these outcomes in African American children compared to children of other races.

Some key findings include:

  • African-American babies were least likely to be born at a healthy birth-weight, which puts them at risk for developmental delays and death within the first year of life.
  • African-American children are less likely to live in two-parent families.
  • African-American children are the least likely group to live in neighborhoods that had low poverty rates.

Recommendations from report:

  • Gather and analyze racial and ethnic data to inform all phases of programs, policies, and decision making
  • Use data and impact assessment tools to target investments to yield the greatest impact for children of color
  • Develop and implement evidence-based programs and practices focused on improving outcomes for children of color.

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

Report show disparities in insurance coverage and access to care in LGBT community

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A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation has helped shed some light on health disparities problems experienced by the LGBT community in the United States. Various research projects have shown gaps in healthcare coverage and utilization of services in the LGBT population.

Some key findings of the study include:

  • 1 in 3 LGBT individuals are currently uninsured, and over 2/3rd have been uninsured for over two years.
  • LGBT individuals who have insurance are less likely to be under their employer’s insurance plan compared to the general population. These individuals are also more likely to be on Medicaid.
  • The LGBT community has been found to have higher rates of unmet medical need because of cost and are less likely to have a regular health provider.
  • Lesbian women in partnerships have lower rates of breast and cervical cancer screenings compared to heterosexual women. They also have higher risk factors for breast cancer, alcohol abuse and lower likelihood of childbearing.
  • Transgender individuals are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to have health insurance, compared to the general population.

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

Report show disparities in access to care and chronic disease in LGBT community (part 1)

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The Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the United States are faced with various barriers in accessing health services, which can have  adverse effects on their health outcomes. Some of these barriers include discrimination, prejudice, stigma, rejection by family, friends and communities. Other barriers include inequality in the workplace,  in health insurance and providers sectors, and just blatant denial of services and care based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A  report by the Kaiser Family Foundation has shown  disparities in health outcomes in the LGBT community compared to their heterosexual and non-transgender counterparts.

Some keys findings were:

  • LGBT individuals were more likely to rate their health as poor, have more chronic illnesses, and have higher prevalence and incidence of disabilities compared to heterosexuals.
  • Also, the LGBT community has higher diagnoses of asthma, headaches, allergies, osteoarthritis, and gastro-intestinal problems compared to heterosexual communities.
  • Within the LGBT community, lesbian and bisexual women reported poorer physical health and higher rates of urinary tract infections, Hepatitis B and C, and asthma compared to heterosexual women.

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

Higher cervical cancer rates than previously reported in African American women

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A study carried out at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and published in the journal Cancer has shown that the rates of cervical cancer is higher than previously believed in older (65-69 years old) women and African-American women. Previous research had shown a rate of about 12 cases of cervical cancer out of every 100.000 women in the United States. However, those estimates included women who has undergone hysterectomies, who were no longer at risk of getting cancer. The protocol in the new study excluded this group of women from their analysis. The new study found a rate of 18.6 cases per every 100,000 women in the United States. The investigators found that the rates increased steadily with age and peaked at the 65-69 years old age group. These rates were disproportionately higher in African American women. There were 53 cases per 100,000 in African-American women between the ages of 65-69. African American women in every age group had higher cancer rates compared to Caucasian women.

The authors concluded, “The higher rates of cervical cancer after correction for hysterectomy highlight the fact that, although a large population of cervical cancer has been prevented through early detection and treatment, it remains a significant problem.”

 

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

New IT platform aims to reduce health disparity in American Indian and Alaska Natives

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Varuous research studies have shown that American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) have worse health outcomes compared to other Americans. A new system of storing electronic health records  (EHR) may help reduce the disparity observed in this community. This new portal will help:

  • Compartmentalize multiple patient health records into one central portal.
  • Directly transmit these records for public health surveillance reports and disease tracking.
  • Have overall impact on quality and accessibility of care to this vulnerable population.

The National Indian Board Regional Extension Center (NIB REC) is working in conjunction with the Indian Health Service (IHS) to help expedite the adoption of the 2014 Certified Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS). This system will allow for centralization of medical records of about two millions AI/AN living in about 35 states across the country. So far, about 1,100 providers have received over $25M in funds from Medicaid to incentivize the adoption of this new portal. The hope is that this will pave the way for better access to care and even better health outcomes in the AI/AN community.

 

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

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