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National Hispanic Medical Association to Focus Health Reform on Health Disparities and Comparative Effectiveness Research
Date:6/12/2009

WASHINGTON, June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the Senate and Congress and stakeholders discuss policy strategies for affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans, there is a critical need to support new knowledge on medical treatment protocols that can reduce health disparities in our nation.

Key leaders will discuss this new knowledge development under health reform when the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) hosts a Congressional Briefing about Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) and Health Disparities. The event, sponsored by the California Endowment, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, AARP and Consumers Union will be held on Wednesday, June 17th, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Capitol Hill Hotel, Washington, DC.

"New knowledge about treatment decisions for the most vulnerable populations should be supported in health reform policy," said Dr. Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, president and CEO, NHMA, a nonprofit group that represents Hispanic physicians in the U.S. "The key to reducing health disparities also includes a diverse health workforce and cultural competence training for all health providers."

As a result of poverty and toxic environments and other social problems, health disparities are reflected among racial and ethnic persons, rural and other subpopulations who have greater rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, renal failure, HIV/AIDS, obesity and their complications. The shift to prevention and healthy lifestyle of the next generation is central to health reform. But the current chronically ill need the emphasis on research to support more efficient care options for the patient and his or her physician.

Comparative effectiveness research was recently supported in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at a level of $1.1 billion to stimulate research from the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that can include cultural competence and mechanisms to decrease health disparities.

Speakers at the briefing include Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), Rep. Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Dr. Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for minority health, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Ivonne Bertrand, associate executive director, National Medical Association, and Dr. Elena Rios, president & CEO, NHMA.

Health reform this year is needed for all Americans to get relief, have more affordable health insurance and access to care, and more efficient clinical decision-making with their physicians and health providers.

Established in 1994 in Washington, DC, NHMA is a nonprofit association that represents 45,000 Hispanic physicians in the U.S. The NHMA mission is to improve the health of Hispanics and the underserved. For more information, visit www.nhmamd.org.


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SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association
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