News & Announcements

Physicians Report that Language and Cultural Barriers Hurt Patient Care (posted 3/1)

Posted: March 01, 2010

A new study out of the Center for Studying Health System Change found that nearly half of U.S. physicians say language or other cultural barriers are obstacles to providing high-quality patient care reports Health Leader Media.  Though physicians reported these cultural and linguistic differences to be obstacles to implementing high quality care, only 5% viewed those barriers as a major problem that could result in a disparity of care across ethnic and racial populations.  "The study, HSC Issue Brief–Modest and Uneven: Physician Efforts to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities shows there is a great need to address the problem of language and cultural communication as the U.S. becomes more diversified, says James D. Reschovsky, PhD, senior health researcher for the Center for Studying Health System Change and co-author of the study. The study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes responses from more than 4,700 physicians and the response rate was 62%."  The study includes recommendations for practices that physicians should adopt in order to address and utlimately reduce disparities in care. To read the Health Media Leader new piece click here.

Mental Health Disaster Relief (posted 2/23)

Posted: February 23, 2010

In their recent article "Mental Health Disaster Relief Not Clear" the National Public Radio (NPR) discusses the role of mental health professionals in the aftermath of disasters such as the one experienced in Haiti.  It's only recently that mental health professionals have begun to provide services after major disasters and the field is still developing so the role of these professionals is not always clear.  The current approach to treating populations who have been through a disaster is called "psychological first aid."  To read the full story click here.  For more information on Mental Health First Aid visit the National Council's website by clicking here.

Mental Health ‘Bible’ Starts Revamp With New Terminology, Diagnoses (posted 2/22)

Posted: February 22, 2010

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is currently undertaking a review and revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).  The DSM-5 is the official dictionary of mental disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association used by doctors to diagnose patients, and used by insurance companies to decide on reimbursement rates.  For more information on the DSM-5 click here

The draft diagnostic criteria for the upcoming edition have been released and the APA is seeking public comments and feedback. Comments can be submitted by registering on the APA site, click here. The deadline for submission of comments is April 20, 2010. The final DSM-5 is expected to be published in May 2013. For more information click here.

To read news articles from the Kaiser Family Foundation about this important review and revision of the DSM-5 click here.

Social Determinants of Health DVD Available in Asian Languages (posted 2/22)

Posted: February 22, 2010

California Newsreel in association with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in December of 2009 released a documentary series entitled Unnatural Causes aimed at tackling the root causes of our alarming socio-economic and racial inequities in health.  The series was presented for public television by the National Minority Consortia and is now available on DVD in various Asian languages.  The viewer can choose from English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hmong, Lao and Vietnamese audio with English and / or Mandarin subtitles.  The four-hour series crisscrosses the nation, uncovering startling new findings that suggest there is much more to our health than bad habits, health care, or unlucky genes. The social circumstances in which we are born, live, and work can actually get under our skin and disrupt our physiology as much as germs and viruses.  For more information about the series click here.  To buy the DVD click here.

Conference in England Produces Strategy for Reducing Health Disparities (posted 2/22)

Posted: February 22, 2010

The Marmot Review to Reduce Health Inequalities in England post-2010 Conference that took place in London, England this February released a final report entitled Fair Society Health Lives that outlines a strategy for reducing health disparities in England, issues of mental health and substance abuse are addressed in the report.  The Review followed the publication of the global Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) published by the World Health Organization. The CSDH advocated that national governments develop and implement strategies and policies suited to their particular national context aimed at improving health equity.   English review is a response to that recommendation and to the government's commitment to reducing health inequalities in England.  The aim of the Review was to propose an evidence based strategy for reducing health inequalities from 2010.  The strategy includes policies and interventions that address the social determinants of health inequalities.  To downlad the Marmot Review click here (24.9MB).  To download Marmot Review from the University College London's website click here.

The six main recommendations of the review are:

  • Giving every child the best start in life
  • Enabling all children, young people and adults to maximize their capabilities and have control over their lives
  • Creating fair employment and good work for all
  • Ensuring a healthy standard of living for all
  • Creating and developing sustainable places and communities
  • Strengthening the role and impact of ill-health prevention


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