Some racial and ethnic minority patients experience lower-quality health care compared to white patients. This disparity is unacceptable. We cannot improve the quality of health care in America without also closing the gaps in care for minority patients.
While the existence of racial and ethnic health care disparities has been firmly established, health care systems need better tools, strategies and interventions to reduce these differences. Previous quality improvement efforts to reduce disparities have often failed or experienced limited success because we have yet to discover the practical steps necessary to address this unacceptable problem.
In 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change to seek and evaluate projects aimed at reducing racial and ethnic health care disparities. Finding Answers manages an $8 million grant portfolio that funds program evaluations in 33 health care organizations across the country. We are evaluating a variety of intervention strategies in different health care settings to find out what works—and what does not—to improve care.
As results come in, the program will disseminate information to health care systems so they can incorporate successful strategies into their quality improvement efforts. Finding Answers focuses our research on interventions targeting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. We focus on reducing disparities in these three conditions because the evidence of racial and ethnic disparities is strong and the recommended standards of care are clear.
National Program Office
Program direction and technical assistance for Finding Answers is provided by a National Program Office located at the University of Chicago. Led by Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH, professor of medicine, the National Program Office aims to reduce health care disparities for patients from racial and ethnic minority groups by:
- Administering a grants program that discovers and evaluates practical and replicable solutions;
- Conducting reviews of existing health care intervention literature; and
- Providing health care systems with evidence-based best practices, practical tools and resources to address racial and ethnic inequities within their own organizations.
View a 3-minute video describing Finding Answers:Follow @FndgAnswers