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NCSL to conduct Health Disparities Project to help educate state lawmakers
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Denver announced in early March that it has launched the Health Disparities Project in an effort to not only identify possible disparities in health care for minorities in the United States, but also to inform policy-makers to reduce any disparities.
"The short-term goal of the project is to provide resources and databases for state legislators to assess how state policy-either in place or under consideration-will impact health care quality and access for racial and ethnic minorities," said Melissa Hansen, a health policy associate at NCSL.
The NCSL said in a news release that, for example, American Indian women are almost twice as likely to die from cervical cancer than white women. African-American men, it said, are diagnosed with heart disease less often, but are 30% more likely to die from it than white men.
"This does not take into account those who remain undiagnosed, due to disparities in access to preventive care," the NCSL said.
The best practices and policy options discovered through the Health Disparities Project are expected to provide state legislators with access to various state models that work to reduce health disparities.
NCSL said it will work with lawmakers to help them understand how specific policies either narrow or widen disparities in health care for racial and ethnic minorities.
The project is being conducted with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health.