Newswise — The articles below will be published online February 10, 2010, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look” athttp://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the April Supplement 2010 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. TheAmerican Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.
(1) Racial Disparities Found in Vaccination Rates among Elderly in Nursing Homes
A new study reports that racial disparities exist in vaccination coverage among U.S. nursing-home residents.
Researchers examined racial disparities in receipt and documentation of influenza and pneumococcus vaccinations among nursing-home residents. They used data from a nationally representative survey of 11,448 white and 1,174 black nursing-home residents in 2004. They found the overall vaccination rate to be 76.2 percent for influenza and 48.5 percent for pneumococcus infection. Compared with whites, blacks showed a 13 percent lower vaccination rate and a 7 percent higher undocumentation rate for influenza, and a 15 percent lower vaccination and 7 percent higher undocumentation rate for pneumococcus.
The study’s authors said, “Our study revealed that among U.S. nursing-home residents, blacks were less likely than were whites to receive influenza and pneumococcus vaccinations and to have documentation of their vaccination history. Furthermore, our findings suggest that targeted programs addressing racial disparities in immunization rates in nursing homes are warranted.”
[From: “Racial Disparities in Receipt of Influenza and Pneumococcus Vaccinations Among US Nursing-Home Residents.” Contact: Yue Li, PhD, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, firstname.lastname@example.org].
(2) WIC Interventions Shown to Reduce Disparities, Especially in African American Population
Prenatal participation in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children is associated with significant improvements in African American infant mortality rates, according to a new study. This study also found WIC participation reduces racial disparities in infant mortality between African Americans and whites.
Researchers assessed the value of WIC services as a public health intervention seeking to improve birth outcomes and reduce racial disparities in Hamilton County, Ohio, from 2005 to 2008. They found that the infant mortality rate was lower overall for WIC participants than for non-WIC participants. However, for African Americans, the infant mortality rate of WIC participants was much lower than that of non-WIC participants; whereas for whites, infant mortality rate and pre-term birth rates were not improved by WIC participation.
“Results of this study show the strength and efficacy of WIC as a public health intervention that mitigates marked health disparities seen in an African American population,” said the researchers. “Our findings provide a strong rationale to develop greater outreach and education about the WIC program within local communities.”
[From: “The Impact of Prenatal WIC Participation on Infant Mortality and Racial Disparities.” Contact: Intisar Khanani, Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati, Ohio,Intisar.email@example.com].
(3) Surprising Breast Cancer Disparities in Asian Women Urges Further Analysis
A new study challenges the notion that breast cancer rates are uniformly low among Asians and therefore suggests a need for increased awareness, targeted cancer control and research to better understand underlying factors.
Researchers from the Northern California Caner Center used data from 1998 through 2004 cancer diagnoses from the California Cancer Registry and imputed immigrant status from Social Security numbers for the 26 percent of cases with missing birthplace information. They estimated breast cancer incidence rates over time for specific Asian populations in California to determine if disparities exist by immigrant status, age and status. They found that breast cancer rates were higher among U.S.- than among foreign born Chinese and Filipina women, but similar between U.S.-and foreign-born Japanese women. Rates among U.S.-born Chinese and Filipinas under age 55 were higher than those among whites, and in 2000-2004, the rate among U.S.-born Filipinas exceeded that of whites.
“Our data suggest that, within this generation, some groups of Asians are experiencing unprecedentedly high rates of breast cancer” said the study’s lead author, Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., of the Northern California Center. “This situation must be further evaluated but also addressed now so that ongoing and future efforts to reduce the breast cancer burden do not overlook Asian women, particularly those becoming more acculturated to the Western lifestyle.”
[From: “Hidden Breast Cancer Disparities in Asian Women: Disaggregating Incidence Rates by Ethnicity and Migrant Status.” Contact: Scarlett Lin Gomez, Northern California Cancer Center, Fremont, Calif., firstname.lastname@example.org].
The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly Journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. More information is available at www.apha.org.