Clip files / Local news from the states

This column features selected short items about state health care policy.

Minorities' health focus of new state office

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania officials have outlined plans for a new office dedicated to eliminating health disparities among minorities and other groups. The state Department of Health's Office of Health Equity will collaborate with state agencies, academic institutions, and community groups to improve the health status of racial minorities and other groups.

The state will use funds from a federal grant to hire a director for the office, which will be located in the health department's Bureau of Health Planning. Some Pennsylvania residents are affected by "a significant differential in access to health care, or even knowledge about health care," Gov. Ed Rendell said yesterday following an appearance at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Compared to white residents, blacks and Hispanics in Pennsylvania are more likely to die from homicide, certain cancers, or other diseases.

Black residents also are more likely than whites to smoke, be overweight, or have asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/20/06