OVER THE PAST 50 YEARS, the United States has benefited greatly from advances in medicine, environmental protection, disease control, and health promotion strategies. Improved technologies within the medical, public health and environmental fields have resulted in increased life expectancy and a better quality of life.
However, racial and ethnic groups have not benefited equally from these advances. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by disease, disability and death. These differences in health status among groups are known as health disparities and are present at the national, state and local levels.
This is the third report prepared by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment intended to describe and examine racial and ethnic health disparities in Colorado.
This report updates and expands on the findings of the 2005 report21 while retaining a focus on Colorado’s four major communities of color: Hispanics/Latinos, African-Americans/Blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders and American Indians. New features include:
â more information on the characteristics of each group, including demographic and social differences within each broader community of color;
â an updated discussion of the relationship of social and environmental determinants of health to health disparities;
â new material on immigrants and health disparities and the importance of culturally competent services to maximizing the health of Colorado’s diverse population;
â a summary of promising initiatives undertaken by public and private organizations in Colorado to reduce documented health disparities; and
â a detailed discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the data sources used in this report.