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Books, Journals,New Media
February 16, 2005

Black American Health

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(7):870-875. doi:10.1001/jama.293.7.874

As noted in both the foreword by Dr David Satcher and the editor’s preface, the issue of ethnic disparities in health was recognized at a national level almost 20 years ago with the Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. Major initiatives have been developed, including Healthy People 2010, which includes among its goals the elimination of health disparities among various segments of the population.

Progress toward this goal has been slow. Although some aspects of the health status of African Americans have shown improvement, the ethnic divide continues to widen. The editor of this second edition notes, “It is a sad testimony of the times that just about the same reasons that motivated me to edit the first volume also motivated me to edit this set.” The editor began work on what became the first edition 20 years ago, then titled Handbook of Black American Health. This second edition is much larger than the first, containing 47 chapters in two volumes. Its purpose is to go beyond the traditional areas of health and health care that have received the most attention (cardiovascular disease and cancer). It includes a number of other chronic diseases and also chapters on the human genome, alternative medicine, emergency medicine, and rural health. In addition to the extensive documentation of disparities, the book was also conceived as a forum for clinicians, researchers, politicians, and others in which to discuss interventions to alleviate disparities.

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