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Addressing racial and ethnic disparities

Despite spending more money on health care each year than any other country, the United States' quality of available care and measured health outcomes remain low when compared with other high-income nations worldwide, said Christopher Murray, M.D., D. Phil, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The disparities in care provided by our nation's health care system and the overall health of our citizens also continue to widen, he said.

Several speakers, during an hour-long discussion at the Health Journalism 2010 conference in Chicago, explained how journalists could use available statistics on racial and ethnic health disparities to raise awareness of underserved and unhealthy populations. The panelists emphasized that journalists should give attention to these disparities because health reform alone will not fix the gaps in local health care.

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