Eliminating healthcare disparities: Who is responsible?

Cardiology Review® Online, September 2006, Volume 23, Issue 9

The 19th Annual Dr Walter M. Booker, Sr. Memorial Symposium, an educational activity hosted by the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. (ABC) was held during the National Medical Association’s (NMA) Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly in Dallas, Tex on August 5, 2006.

Offering diverse perspectives from the private sector, government, medical providers, and health policy experts, the symposium presented information on healthcare disparities and possible responses to addressing this issue. This symposium incorporated basic science, clinical and public health aspects of cardiovascular disease, and discussions of evidence-based approaches to the prevention, management, and treatment of common cardiac-related disorders.

The symposium was cochaired by 2 interventional cardiologists—G. Mark Jenkins, MD of Dallas, and Christopher J.W.B. Leggett, MD, from Atlanta, Ga, and was attended by more than 250 individuals. Sessions during the more than 5-hour program covered a broad range of topics in healthcare disparities, among them the continued existence of disparities and the positions of both the ABC and the NMA in addressing the issue. In addition, other sessions covered individual and governmental responsibility in addressing disparities and the use of evidence-based medicine in hypertension, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and cardiometabolic syndrome to remedy problems in disparate care. Finally, Dr Leggett offered practical solutions and future considerations for decreasing healthcare disparities.

The program also discussed the importance of electronic medical re­cords systems and their effectiveness in improving quality of care, enhancing patient-provider communication, and enabling healthcare providers to develop longitudinal patient profiles.

As indicated by this program, the ABC is dedicated to eliminating health disparities, especially those related to cardiovascular disease. Educational activities such as this are important ways for members and other health care providers to minorities to maintain and increase knowledge, skills, and professional performance in the area of cardiovascular medicine.

Journal of the Association of Black Cardiologists

The program was supported in part by a grant from Nitromed, Inc. The symposium proceedings will be available online shortly and highlights will be featured in the . The 2007 Booker Symposium will be held in Hawaii. For additional details visit the ABC website at

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www.abcardio.org

Acknowledgment

The author acknowledges technical support provided by Maleeka Glover, ScD, MPH, Senior Research Scientist Officer, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and editorial support by L. Neicey Johnson, Vice-President Public Affairs, Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.